In Sicario, acclaimed Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s follow up to his one-two punch of Prisoners and Enemy, FBI agent Kate Macy (the underrated Emily Blunt) is repeatedly instructed to “keep watching”. With a gripping, twisted narrative by screenwriter Taylor Sheridan and a taut pace set by Villeneuve and masterful editor Joe Walker, it is difficult to not keep watching this nail-biting thriller.
Opening with her squad’s grisly discovery of a house insulated with rotting corpses, Kate is determined to expose the men in the Mexican drug cartel responsible for the massacre. Newly selected as the lone woman on the specialized team, and taken under the wing of agent Matt Graver (the consistently charismatic Josh Brolin) and enigmatic lawyer Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), she must uncover and piece together who exactly she’s working for (and with, for that matter) in a daily struggle for survival near the US-Mexican border.
As the team uses confidential intelligence to entrap and nullify each rung in the cartel’s pecking order, the stakes become higher and the tension mounts. Each (literal) modern-day Mexican shoot-out scene is unyielding in its intensity, as they edge ever closer to the men responsible for the heinous crimes at the beginning of their manhunt.
Watch for sinewy star Emily Blunt (here playing a kickass version of her previous Edge of Tomorrow and Looper roles) and acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins to be mentioned in their respective upcoming Oscar races.