* * C
Sicario is a crime drama about the war on drugs on the USA/Mexico border. It is the story of FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) who, after a bomb kills two of her team during a raid in Arizona , joins a CIA task force led by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin). There, she meets Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a former Colombian prosecutor who has become a ruthless opponent of the Mexican cartels.
Making the lead character a woman is a refreshing change. This fact is not played up, and Kate is (believably) the only woman on the task force. Kate is by the book, and Matt Graver morally ambiguous, but Del Toro’s character, the focus of the third act, crosses the line into dark territory, where the ends justify the means, and the end is revenge wrapped in the flag of righteousness.
Blunt and Brolin deliver solid performances, but Del Toro’s is the one that stayed with me after the film ended. Solid supporting parts are played by Kate’s FBI partner (Daniel Kaluuya) and boss (Victor Garber from Alias). The pacing is slow, the tone dark and depressing. This is not a message of hope, only despair.