Brutality shows no mercy
Ok first off, this film is freaking brutal. I mean like holy crap levels of brutal. If you are feint of heart, do not make any effort to see this film. Just leave, now, because I don't know what I'm gonna talk about yet and something might come up that scares the crap out of you. (And me, honestly, because some of the images I have from this film aren't leaving my mind anytime soon...) for the rest of you, let's talk about Sicario.
Sicario is a good film. A good film that suffers from a few problems, but let's talk positives first. First off, the film looks absolutely gorgeous. The cinematography from legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins is fantastic, and EASILY the best part of the film. Every shot of this film, even the Call-of-Duty-esque fighting sequences, looked absolutely wonderful thanks to Deakins. It almost makes me sad that he's not gonna win an Oscar, but Emmanuel Lubezki is Emmanuel Lubezki so there's that. Additionally, the film is wonderfully acted by Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, and Josh Brolin. Emily Blunt is asked to do a lot here, and she does an excellent job. Also I didn't think they could make Emily Blunt not look stunning, but they accomplished that somehow. She only looks relatively attractive in this film. Kudos to the makeup department for that one. Also, this film does have a relatively engaging, despite it being an incredibly brutal watch. But Benicio Del Toro had a really interesting character arc, and there were some "twists and turns" that I wasn't expecting. That said, these character arcs is where one of my major problems with the film come in.
I did NOT like Emily Blunt's character arc. I get that she's supposed to be beaten down by the events of this film, and she's supposed to be how we would react, but after seeing how much of a boss Blunt could be in Edge of Tomorrow......her character really could've been played by anyone. This character arc really took away Blunt's ability to be as fantastic as she usually is, and that made me sad. Additionally, this film was just....too much for me. I don't know a whole lot about the drug war of Mexico, but this film made it seem like it is as bad as like ISIL is in the Middle East. There's a scene where Emily Blunt looks into a Mexican town, and there are gunshots everywhere and even some explosions. It looks like a total war zone, and I simply just find it hard to believe that the Mexican drug war is really that much like open warfare. Oh and no way would Josh Brolin's character arc exist. I didn't really appreciate that either. Ultimately as the film went on it started feeling like American Sniper to me, and when a film feels like that.....that's not good.
So, despite the fact that this film looks fantastic and has a pretty engrossing and unpredictable story, Sicario just takes too many liberties for me to truly appreciate its attempt at realism. Despite the fact that there are three great performances from its main characters, their arcs were just all over the place and not quite my style. While still above average, this film definitely could've been better had it, well, just toned it down a bit. Man that's an odd thing for me to say about a film, but I guess there's a first time for everything!
The Critique: While beautifully shot, Sicario suffers from the rare problem of being too brutally "realistic" which limits the film to being merely above average.
The Recommendation: If you like Emily Blunt, or brutal realism, or Roger Deakins, then this film is for you. If not? Stay away.
The Verdict: 6/10 Above Average