Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sicario

Plot: FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is assigned to a militarized drug task force along the US-Mexican border. Her new colleagues, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) and Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), are using aggressive, bloody tactics on their raids on drug runners and king-pins. Kate and her partner Reggie (Daniel) follow along in increasingly adventurous raids which lead to a dark and morally-clouded finale.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Dark. Intense. Gripping and Exciting too.

What does law enforcement do in the name of the greater good? Plenty of shooting.

Sicario is a top movie with good characters, big action, subtle action, and a message. I really liked it even though it left me feeling bleak and empty by the end. 

Benicio Del Toro's Alejandro is a force of nature; Alejandro has a long past with politics, criminals, retribution to his family; he is strategic, emotional, and brutal. Del Toro makes this performance look easy.

Emily Blunt's Kate is super-competent, but she and her boss are conflicted about bending the rules to get the bad guys. As the rules get bent into pretzels, her conscience becomes the surrogate for the audience's.

This is a well-made,thoughtful movie with great characters and a moral issue to chew on. I loved it.

Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan

Directed by:
Denis Villeneuve

The Music:
Great soundtrack by Johann Johannsson. Often drum heavy, but hitting the emotional beats hard exactly. The final song, The Beast, echos the bleak, dark mood of the final scenes. The music played over the soccer game is some of the saddest music ever. The soundtrack should get an Oscar.

The Visuals:
The best visual was the soldiers sneaking up to the smuggler tunnel with the setting sun behind them. All or nearly all the bloody shooting is off-camera, so it is not a gory as it could be.  

Rating: 
4.0 stars: Even though Sicario is serious, it is still exciting, and parts are fun to watch. 


More: "Sicario" means hitman in Mexico; it originally meant a Jewish Nationalist in Roman Palestine.

Even More: Last week at The Martian, no one asked "Why save Watley?" even though spending the money used to save Watley on vaccinations for poor people would have saved many more lives. Utilitarianism says the best outcome is the one where the most people are in the best condition. 

In Sicario, the USA justifies a lot of killing using the utilitarian principle that by killing these drug smugglers today, more people will live elsewhere. That is, extra-constitutional, extra-territorial violence doesn't matter in the name of the greater good.

In The Martian there is a different moral calculus, that we had a absolute moral requirement to rescue the astronauts because they took the risk on our behalf, and we needed to expend any cost to do so. 
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