Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin
Genre: Drug War Drama, thriller
Runtime: 121 min. Rating: R
The city attained its infamous deathly aura for the femicide that took place near the end of 20th centuries. Hundreds of females were found dead — tortured and raped, sometimes decapitated — and more than half of these killings went unresolved. The city is rampant with violence and drug trade because it borders Texas, and the drugs are delivered to U.S.A, and many of the killings are assumed to be enacted by those people involved with the drug cartel. In addition, Juarez is a home to recently built maquiladoras (factories built by U.S.A. for cheap Mexican labor), and many females without much education come to the city to find a job at these maquiladoras. These girls were target to these killings. In the movie, one characters equates the city to a beast. It is to this city, where the sound of gunfire replaces chirping of the birds and headless cadavers hang casually from the bridge, the movie Sicario ushers us in.
“Nothing will make sense to your American ears.”
The movie asks, “How are we, the Americans, to understand this ongoing drug war?” We Americans can’t seem to lead a life without drugs (weed legalized, and cocaine so casual among many), and our desire to get high and fly perpetuates the drug trade. In turn, it annihilates the lives of many innocent Mexicans. Is there anything we can do? Are we to just stand back and watch? The Mexican attorney turned drug-lord hunter tells one American F.B.I, “Nothing will make sense to your American ears.” That’s exactly what happens to Emily Blunt’s character; nothing makes sense to her. She is an ambiguous figure throughout, more like a moral guide that represents American’s ignorance on the nature of this ongoing drug war than a compelling character.
Sicario means ‘hit-man’ in Spanish. It used to designate the zealots in Jerusalem. In the movie, the term is best characterized by the character played by Benicio Del Toro, who is after the narcotraficant who killed his wife and daughter. In order to locate “The bad guy” who controls the trade, the team enlists an American F.B.I (Emily Blunt), who is constantly confused because the team is not sticking to the procedural rules. Their killing is merciless, their torture creative with its ways; the law officers and bad guys are indistinguishable. Is the movie telling us that in order to fight this drug war, we have to become like them? Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth?
For people who’s unaware of this permanent plague called drug war in America, the movie is a good primer. Sicario has no moment of peace; from beginning to end, it boils with tension. Somehow, we know that the three main protagonists won’t die, but nonetheless, the action sequences are quick to the point and forges ahead with more dangerous mission that paves a way toward a culprit. In the end, the movie merely looks like a revenge tale, a weak point in an otherwise compelling setting. How did such an ugly mess like this start to permeate so much aspect of our lives? What is the way out of this pandemonium?