Denis VilleneuveUSA121 minutes2014ColourEnglish Spanish
Seeking vengeance for a booby-trapped blast at a drug bust that killed several of her team members, FBI agent Kate Mercer (Emily Blunt) is shanghaied into helping out a smirking secret agent (Josh Brolin) on a shady extradition mission in Juárez. Partnered with a mysterious operative who goes by the name Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), Mercer is forced to reconcile her rigorous professional ethics with the nightmarish realities and morally reprehensible tactics employed by both sides in America's War on Drugs. In terms of purely visual storytelling, Sicario may be Villeneuve's masterpiece in its mix of documentary realism, detached formalism, and night-vision stylization (as with its predecessor Prisoners, the film benefits enormously from the sublime cinematography of Roger Deakins). The taut, rhythmic brilliance of Villeneuve's set pieces — which include a nerve-shredding shoot-out at a border checkpoint and a horror movie-style descent into a network of drug-smuggling tunnels — is countered by a tone that is ultimately more mournful than the flashy action-movie packaging suggests.