20170323: Drama Review--Sicario

Name: Sicario (2015)
IMDb: link to Sicario page

Genres: Drama.   Country of origin: USA.

Benicio del Toro as Alejandro.  In a sense, there are no other actors in the film.  The movie is about Alejandro.

Emily Blunt as Kate Macer, Josh Brolin as Matt Graver, Victor Garber as Dave Jennings, Jeffrey Donovan as Steve Forsing, Daniel Kaluuya as Reggie Wayne, Jon Bernthal as Ted.

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve.  Written by: Taylor Sheridan.
Emily Blunt

The Three Acts:

The initial tableaux:
FBI agent Kate Macer and her team break kidnapping rings in the American Southwest.  After a fruitful discovery of dead kidnap victims, a booby trap kills two of her team.  The strength of the find and the horror of the bombing bring Kate to the attention of the CIA.  Her FBI boss Jennings and CIA straw boss Graver enable the transfer.

Delineation of conflicts:
Kate would like to operate within the laws of the United States.  Her ally Reggie wants her to stay alive and out of trouble.

Graver, the CIA, and various freelance special forces want to disrupt Mexican drug cartel operations regardless of the legality of their methods.

Alejandro and the CIA have a strong bond.  He supplies actionable intelligence; they let him operate on targets of his choice.  Kate considers this bovine nonsense, but is shouted down by several methods.

Resolution: Illegal operations by Mexico and by the US continue without meaningful opposition.

One line summary: Idealistic FBI agent joins covert operations.
del Toro


Cinematography: 7/10 Some of the camera work inspired awe (as opposed to being awesome, which means nothing) because it was both beautiful and well thought out.  Other parts were well beneath ordinary, which is common in any film that includes a large percentage of night scenes and night-vision scenes.  Shaky cam was kept to a minimum.

Sound: 5/10 IMDb lists six tunes played in the background for this film  Meh; nothing added.

Acting: 7/10 Del Toro: excellent.  Brolin: so good.  Garber, Donovan, Kaluuya, Bernthal: just fine.  Blunt: who the hell is this?  How could she be worse?

Screenplay: 6/10 The story moves right along, except when it concentrates too much on Blunt's witless pawn character.  This ruins everything else.  Still, I liked the story, despite Blunt's taint on it.  The real story was about del Toro's character.  If this had been the steady focus, I would have rated the film's screenplay at least 9/10.

Final rating: 6/10