Mexico is having a bit of an identity crisis in recent years. It may be been hidden from me when I was still a child, I still recall when I saw the “South of the Boarder” country as a place people go to on vacation. My parents had taken several trips and I finally went on a cruise in 1997. The countryside and the beaches were beautiful, though I thought the cities looked liked the result of an outhouse taking control of a metropolis. It was sometime in middle school that I started to see the place as an almost third world that produced drugs.
The Mexican Drug War has become a nightly ritual on the news as we hear more reports about the cartels bringing their business over the boarder, how they may be helping with the smuggling of illegal immigrants and how they may even have ties with the Mexican government. It is becoming a serious issue that I still think the U.S. is not taking more control on. The big concern is that with the further influx of immigrants, more drug people are making their way to the states. Emily Blunt joins a group to take on a threatening cartel in Sicario.
An FBI agent Katie Macer (played by Emily Blunt) is with a group of other agents during a kidnapping raid in Arizona where they find many dead bodies in the walls and a bomb in the shed that kills two officers. Her actions lead her to be recommended to CIA agent Matt Graver (played by Josh Brolin) to join his team that are searching for a cartel boss that was connected to the house. She accepts, excited that she can finally make a difference on the drug war.
Her first trip takes her to El Paso where they meet up with Matt’s partner, Alejandro Gillick (played by Benicio Del Toro) and find out that they will be going over the boarder to Juárez to extract a prisoner. Despite a bloody gun battle with a cartel interception, they take Guillermo, one of the cartel’s top men for questioning. Katie, while impressed with how much information she’s getting, is shocked by the CIA’s lack of concern for the citizens of Mexico. They find out of a tunnel that’s been a major use for illegal immigrants and drugs. Katies also learns about Alejandro’s shady past with the cartels and that the CIA is actually going after a major drug lord.
Sicario is a movie that I was excited for. I knew that I was going to get a dark movie and got plenty of action, yet I felt board while watching it. The first half with Emily Blunt learning to ropes of the CIA and going into Mexico were thrilling while the second half that belonged to Benicio Del Toro and his confrontation with the drug cartel moved at such a slow pace that I almost felt like that I was in school and not watching a movie.
Don’t get me wrong. Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro give off some good performances and I wanted to see them serve some justice, but the story felt very familiar. Part of that has to do that the film feels structured in a similar format to Zero Dark Thirty. The big difference is then ending. While Zero Dark Thirty paid off with the government’s hard work, Sicario’s result felt more empty and bleak, like that no matter how much you care about making a difference, the real world only proves that it’s unlikely. I know that film was trying to be realistic, but I found it too unpleasant to fully recommend.
I’ll give this two tunnels into the U.S. out of five. I wish I could say that Sicario was a favorite of mine like the rest of the critics, but I honestly don’t see why their phrasing it as unique and original. It’s just as gritty and black as a lot of other political force thrillers. I can also see Sicario getting lost within the mix, but I can understand that people may find the action satisfying and even new. I’d say that this film defiantly portrays the Mexican Drug War actually; I just didn’t enjoy going in this deep.