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Movie Review

Everyone Else Is Wrong About 'Sicario'


I cannot join the almost universal praise for Sicario, which at least for me had problems both technically and in content.

Technically, even with my theater earphones set up so high that normal conversation blew my head off, I could not hear what a lot of the whispering and murmuring, especially by Emily Blunt, was about. Not that it mattered a lot, because there isn't much said.

Emily Blunt is an FBI agent assigned to Josh Brolin's infantry unit, which is fighting the drug lords down around the Mexico border. But nobody tells her what exactly is going on, and she never asks, so all we know is that everybody is shooting at everybody else. If there is some general strategy or some hope that the war will end some time, Sicario-- which is simply a term for "hit man" with some cultural overtones-- doesn't tell us about it.

Brolin, Benicio Del Toro and company are looking for a tunnel under the border, apparently a main thoroughfare for 50-pound bags of narcotics, but nobody seems to think the situation will be much improved by their finding it. Del Toro has personal revenge motives, but Brolin seems to be just earning his pay. You'd think that with Blunt being the only woman in the group, the men would pay some attention to her, but only Del Toro does, and he only sporadically.

The drug lords string up mutilated bodies from bridges, but the Good Guys just leave the bodies wherever they fall, even in the middle of the highways, which in frequent helicopter shots are full of traffic, but in closer shots tend to be empty. There are long, undramatic silences between lines, maybe because nobody trusts anybody enough to risk saying the wrong thing.

And that's about all I have to say about Sicario, except that everybody else seems to like it.