These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
I honestly didn’t know much about the movie going in. And by “didn’t know much” I really mean I didn’t know shit. I saw tactical gear on a silhouetted Emily Blunt and automatically assumed “soldier in Iraq.” I mean, it’s not like SWAT or the FBI use tactical gear at all (Yeah, I know, Puyda’s a dumb-ass. Moving on!). Anyway, the cast was pretty damn selling, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, I was diggin’ it. Plus, early and initial reviews seemed to be praising it across the board, so that really got me hyped. After a failed attempt to finally see this with a friend, I decided I wanted to see this movie too much to miss out a second time. So bam, saw it, and now, I’m throwing my opinion out there.
Stars: Emily Blunt (A QUIET PLACE , MY LITTLE PONY , GIRL ON THE TRAIN , and the upcoming MARY POPPINS RETURNS ), Benicio Del Toro (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR , STAR WARS: LAST JEDI , and the upcoming SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO ), and Josh Brolin (DEADPOOL 2 , ONLY THE BRAVE , HAIL, CAESAR , EVEREST , and upcoming films SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO and Avengers 4 )
Support: Daniel Kaluuya (BLACK PANTHER , GET OUT , and the upcoming WIDOWS ), Victor Garber (REBEL IN THE RYE , SELF/LESS , and upcoming films THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS  and KILL THE POET ), Jon Bernthal (WIND RIVER , THE ACCOUNTANT , ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL , and upcoming films FIRST MAN  and WIDOWS ), Bernardo Saracino (THE SPACE BETWEEN US  and WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT )
Director: Denis Villeneuve (BLADE RUNNER 2049  and ARRIVAL )
Writer: Taylor Sheridan (WIND RIVER, HELL OR HIGH WATER , and the upcoming SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO)
Composer: Jóhann Jóhannsson (ARRIVAL, and the upcoming MANDY )
Cinematographer: Roger Deakins (BLADE RUNNER 2049, HAIL, CAESAR, and the upcoming THE GOLDFINCH )
Editor: Joe Walker (BLADE RUNNER 2049, ARRIVAL, and the upcoming WIDOWS)
This is my honest opinion of: SICARIO
Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is a top-notch FBI agent who wants to bring down one of the worst drug kingpins around, Manuel Diaz (Bernardo P. Saracino). Unfortunately, during a raid on one of his operations, Kate loses some of her men to an explosive. Despite her defeat, her record reaches a shady self-proclaimed government official named Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) who wants to recruit her into a special tasks unit to take down Diaz. Kate agrees, but her ideals begin to conflict with how Graver’s outfit proceeds, utilizing methods that are not always moral or legal. Soon, she realizes that maybe not everyone she’s working with can be trusted.
Am I joining the ranks of those who praised the fuck out of this movie? Is this one of the must-see flicks of the year? Am I making my civil duty as a red-blooded American to inform all you fine Americans (or the few Europeans in my friends list) to drag your asses into the cinema to see this movie?
Okay, okay, hear me out. You know what I think this movie is? A smart-person’s movie. If I didn’t know better, just the way the movie is written and structured kind of screams like it was an adaptation of a Tom Clancy book (not that I’ve ever read one) or something. Now while I don’t consider myself an idiot, there’s complex stories that are definitely easier to follow than others. For example, I can follow the Joker’s plan fairly well in THE DARK KNIGHT. It was complex, it was well thought out, but as soon as it starts unraveling, there’s no moment where I’m like, “Wait, what? Where did that come from?” But every so often, there’s a that movie where the motivations are there, you know they’re there, but for some fucked up reason, the movie goes from point A to point D and you’re sitting there going, “What the fuck happened to B and C?” This was that kind of movie for me. Maybe just a little too smart for me. But does that make it a bad movie? Absolutely not.
I do want to start with what I didn’t like… or rather what confused me.
First of all, the set-up. Kate is recruited into this… black ops, mercenary task force? I have no idea, but the point is, none of what these guys are doing seem to be all that legal. The FBI would accept these actions from a stranger? Matt’s true identity, as in, who he works for, is never really explained. So… random dudes can just waltz right into the FBI and ask for their top agents to assist them in activities that would be disavowed? I mean… it that seriously how it works? Obviously, this bothers Kate a great deal as the story continues. This makes sense, since she’s steadfast in her beliefs in code and procedure when dealing with criminals. Surly these guys from… wherever they’re from, could see that from her records. Why bring her specifically along? You know she’s going to ask questions, she’s going to be a pain in your ass, why do you act, A) surprised and frustrated when she starts demanding answers, or B) not just tell her the real mission? Kate goes along, obviously, but always in the mind-set that it’s for the greater good. Honestly, I don’t even remember the reveal of the real reason she’s with them to be all that great an explanation. But whatever.
Another major gripe that I have with this movie is Jon Bernthal’s character, Ted. Oh, Bernthal himself is always fun to see on film, but he barely needed to be in the role. Why? Because his character is literally there to remind the audience that Manuel Diaz is a bad guy who has cops under his belt. So to make matters a little more confusing, he’s an old friend of Reggie’s and they just happen to meet up at this bar. How did Ted know where to find them? How did he guess they were going to this specific bar? I don’t recall Reggie and Kate ever having a conversation like, “hey, we come here all the time,” or, “hey, I used to come here with my army buddies.” No, they just show up, start drinking, and boom, dude’s army buddy HAPPENS to be there and just HAPPENS to be an agent for Diaz. And for fuck sake, he has her on the couch, defenses completely down, but instead of grabbing a switchblade from his pocket or something, he keeps trying to have sex with her, and pulls out his possessions from his pocket which includes an OBVIOUS SIGN THAT HE’S ONE OF DIAZ’S MEN??? That whole scene just seemed like an absolute blunder to get the horny fucks going hoping to see some Emily Blunt boobage. And no, you don’t get to see Emily Blunt boobage. You see her in a bra, but that’s about it… and that was pretty clumsily added too if you ask me.
As much as I might be railing on the movie, there’s actually a ton that this movie offers.
Emily Blunt is amazing, although I can sometimes hear her accent slip. Josh Brolin, he’s as enigmatic as he is charming, but honestly, the true scene-stealer is the ever-amazing Benicio del Toro. Oh my god, this guy oozes with moral ambiguity. You never really can tell what is going on in his mind, what he’s thinking… you can’t predict what he will or will not do. Man, all you know is that he’s a bad-ass and you don’t want to be on his bad side. This might be one of his best performances since THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
Speaking of moral ambiguity, that’s one of my favorite aspects of the movie: Kate and Reggie aside, there’s no real good guy in the movie. There’s only bad guys and guys you don’t trust. This just makes every second of the film unnerving and constantly keeping you on your toes, once again, leaving the audience unable to predict what will happen. Despite how 90% of this movie takes place during the daytime or in brightly lit places, this movie is DARK.
Which leans into another fantastic element to the story. The theme that I walked away with: What is lawfully right and wrong? Kate knows the stakes if Manuel Diaz isn’t stopped. But the methods that this team executes aren’t always morally right or legal. I admire her for sticking to what she believes, but is convinced that everything being done is for a reason. An argument could be made as to why she doesn’t just walk away from it all, but we can empathize with a commanding officer who lost a few of her teammates to a violent and unchecked bastard and wants to see him brought to justice… even though “justice” isn’t what this group is aiming for.
But I will kick myself if I don’t talk about the ending. This is probably where most of my indecisiveness comes from, and not just the premise. Kate finds out that Alejandro is acting solo and wants to find Manuel for his own reasons. Reasons that I think Matt is aware of and forces Kate to accept the situation as is: there were never good guys in this outfit, and there was never going to be a happy or just ending to this story. Once Manuel is killed by Alejandro, he pays Kate a visit at the end of the movie. He ends up forcing her to sign a confidentiality agreement that states everything done was by the books. Kate is pretty adamant that she won’t sign, which would force Alejandro to kill her to keep quiet. But some repetitive threats later, she ends up signing… because she doesn’t want to die? I take issue with this because Kate has always been that by-the-books kind of gal. But as soon as a gun is pointed at her with a steely gaze from a ruthless killer, she wavers. Look, I can’t fault a person who values their life enough to sacrifice their morals to carry on the good fight, but I do feel like… damn, this movie was so unafraid to “go there” in so many respects, so why didn’t the movie end on an even downer note by just having Kate die sticking to what she believes in. That would have been so much more powerful, in my opinion. Do I think this ending makes the movie worse? No, but I think it could have been better. But as is, it’s still an ending that sticks with you.
The best parts of the movie is the atmosphere the story creates, the characters that you can’t trust, and your hopes that the protagonist will come out of this in one peace. I may not agree with the set-up… or more accurately, I don’t understand it, which does hinder me from loving it as opposed to really liking it. But it is definitely worth checking out.
My honest rating for SICARIO: 4/5