SICARIO Review – Explosive, Gripping, A High Octane Rush

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SICARIO, from Lionsgate and Black Label Media, presents an explosive, high tech contemporary thrill ride deep into the billion dollar narco trade, with stunning action, edgy dialogue, challenging circumstances and a high body count, where the enemy is ruthless, hidden and everywhere.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Taylor Sheridan, SICARIO stars Emily Blunt, Benedict Del Toro and Josh Brolin with Victor Garber Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Jeffrey Donovan, Raoul Trujillo and Julio Cesar Cedillo.

SICARIO opens with cameras circling over the deep desert near the Mexican-Arizona border, FBI agents in black SWAT gear crawl through the mountains like ants, everywhere, and bring a new name to making an entrance, they drive an armored vehicle full force into the front room.

During the gunfire exchange a scatter blast rips holes in the wall and an odd looking shadow appears. Agent Kate Mercer, played brilliantly by Emily Blunt, and her team are looking for kidnap victims. The agents rip the sheet rock down to find two smothered bodies, suffocated with plastic bags and stuffed, in the wall frame.

At the end of the day, nearly 40 bodies are found, smothered, standing like stiffened mannequins, throughout the house frame. Not the victims the team were looking for, the bodies represented just another day for the Sinaloa Drug Cartel as they take the drug wars to the next level.

FBI Agent Kate Macer and her partner, Reggie Wayne, played by Daniel Kaluuya, smart, former military with an Iraqi TOD, law school, smart and lethal, are selected to volunteer for an off the grid, blurred boundary mission, part of an elite squad headed by Matt Graver, played effortlessly by Josh Brolin, as dedicated as Macer, his methods are his own, with agency approval he delivers results with limited external involvement. To him the end, the objective, justifies and necessitates any means.

Seated at the meeting are FBI Regional Director Dave Jennings, played by Victor Garber, along with others presenting her record, fresh, solid, by the book, with a record that exemplifies dedication to procedure.

Macer is recruited as much for her skill as her reputation. Unsavory methods create investigations, something the agency in the failed drug policy and the next mission do not need. It needs to be as starched, clean and fresh as the shirts of the senate committee.

The house of horrors in Arizona is the guise in the first assignment with the new team. Off to El Paso, Texas she is told. Alejandro, played with precision by Benedict Del Toro, a paid assassin working for, at least this time, the Americans, joins the two on the tarmac.

The hunt begins in Juarez, Mexico where the murder rate has exploded to nearly 500% higher than El Paso, as the Sinaloa Cartel and drug war lords stake out more territory, making it the murder capital of Mexico while five miles north, El Paso, Texas had only five murders in a single year making it one of the safest cities in America. Five miles separate the Mexican Drug Militia from the United States Border.

Macer lives by the book and doesn't understand why she is even along for the ride and at every juncture is trying to build a case when her new, no boundaries, partners are working on a more swift, permanent, and effective form of justice.

The drive through Juarez reveals to, by the book, Agent Macer the reality of life five miles from the border. Bodies are often decapitated hung exposed. Body parts are bagged and tagged, with 98% of the murders never being solved. Morgues are full; police are powerless. The Cartel doesn't stop with simply murder; they murder, mutilate, decapitate, slice and scatter the body parts as messengers to any who would question who is in control.

The Juarez police are so concerned that they will be identified and killed or their families will be murdered they often wear full face masks to hide their identity. Loyalties are questioned or abandoned.

Alejandro, as his life has deeply irrevocably changed since his first encounter with Sinaloa. He is now single, his wife and daughter victims to the fiend. Fueled by revenge, he a former prosecutor works with whomever will pay him, this time fortunately he is working with the good guys to dismantle the Sinaloa hierarchy.

SICARIO does more than expose the failed drug policy it also tackles the current immigration problems. These scenes took the edge off the violence as Alejandro gathered the few Mexicans, from a nights work by the border patrol, that had made the trip through the desert around a map to explain to him the best and easiest way to travel across the desert in order to find a tunnel they were told about during an interesting interrogation.

Macer as dedicated to the book as Alejandro and Graver are dedicated to dismantling the Cartel. The friction becomes the catalyst to an intense power play scene. Barreling ahead she ignores all advice from more seasoned drug warriors, and rightly so, she is skilled, dedicated and well trained FBI. This is not a fair fight, this is war, where classroom and even field work doesn't prepare.

Macer, Alejandro and Graver are all forced to make decisions they hadn't expected.

SICARIO is gripping, powerful, extremely well written, acted and directed. It is bloody, violent and believable. Seamless, a cohesive through line, even as scenes change, loyalties are tested, relationships are destroyed or forged, the modernized warfare scenes truly add heightened suspense and authenticity.

From the beginning SICARIO delivers an explosive, high octane, thrill ride through the highly sophisticated drug trafficking networks, matched equally by the elite members of a dedicated CIA/FBI who are willing to mirror the vicious tactics of the enemy in order to destroy and at least stop, slow or stall the well-tuned drug tracking network.

A powder keg, SICARIO instantly explodes. An edge of your seat thriller, from beginning to end, SICARIO is rock solid!

SICARIO opens September 18, 2015. See it!

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