Sicario (2015)

Sicario has been heralded as “one of 2015’s best films” by many people including film critics, film enthusiasts, and my friends and family. To say I was let down by this film would be an understatement. I appreciate many of the filming techniques used, but overall I did not enjoy Sicario. 

The film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, was released on October 2 (USA) and is still showing in most theaters. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro are the headlining actors. Kate Macer (Blunt), an FBI agent, enlists to help battle the drug war along the United States and Mexico border. She works with a difficult teammate named Matt Graver (Brolin) and a complex agent named Alejandro (Del Toro). Kate catches glimpses of what really goes on in the fight against the drug cartel.

To be honest, I thought the first thirty minutes of the film were captivating and exciting. I enjoyed the opening scene and its intensity. However, I feel like the rest of the film did not capitalize on that intense tone. Sure, there were suspenseful moments later on, but I was never emotionally attached to the point where the outcome affected me. Sicario included too many cliché Hollywood aspects, it was predictable, and Emily Blunt’s acting was not impressive.

How many times are we going to have to hear a character say “I need a smoke” or “I need a drink”? It is okay for the character to drink and smoke (I guess), but it is annoying to have them beg and plead for it every 10 minutes. It is such an overused Hollywood cliché that does not help the character stand out. To me, Kate Macer is hindered by this characteristic. If the director really wanted to create a likable and strong character, he should have singled her out by not adding this feature. It is not very original to have a character with a smoking or drinking need.

There were many situations where the plot was predictable. *SPOILERS* For instance, there is a scene where a man from a bar goes home with Kate. From the minute this guy was introduced, I knew he was a creep. But of course, she dances with him and takes him home anyways. Kate is supposed to be a smart and alert agent, but I guess she was too naive to sense out that this guy obviously had another story. Eventually, she finds out that he is working for the drug cartel. They start physically fighting. At one point, he has her held against the ground and she nearly dies from suffocation. But guess who shows up at the perfect moment to save her? You guessed it! Alejandro appears at the perfect moment, with a gun, to save Kate’s life. This reminds me of something I would see in a B film, not a film that is receiving great critical acclaim.

Emily Blunt’s acting was mediocre. I blame it more on her character, because I know she is an accomplished actress. I could not tell if the director wanted her to be a rugged agent or an inexperienced, wimpy agent. After the opening scene, Kate comments that she wants to find the people responsible for the incident. But once she gets to Mexico and sees dead bodies, she acts very timid and apprehensive. She acts like she does not want to be there. Well, she is the one who volunteered! Kate had to know and expect what she might experience down there. Another irritating thing about her character was the fact that she did not know Spanish. How can Kate live in Arizona and be a part of the FBI and still not understand simple Spanish? Most FBI agents know more than one language, so this mistake seemed slightly unrealistic.

Sicario, in my opinion, is not the great masterpiece that film critics are saying it is. I am not sure why it is ranking so high on this year’s film polls. Its many flaws and typical Hollywood features added to an altogether disheartening experience. I would not recommend it.

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