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REVIEW — “Sicario”

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“Sicario” is the type of film that is really best to go in blind. I don’t believe the trailers have shown any spoilers, but your friend seeing it first could end up revealing something major about the plot . There is this excellent underlying mystery that surrounds the characters, and as the pieces start to come together it really ratchets up the tension. Mix this with an amazing cast, excellent writing, and interesting subject matter and you’ve got the best post-Summer film thus far (Yes. Better than “The Martian” and “Black Mass”).

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I’ll go ahead and get the only thing I didn’t like about this out of the way. Considering how long the finished product is, and it really doesn’t feel THAT long, I can’t abide by director Denis Villeneuve’s constant need to have long, drawn out, sweeping landscape shots…especially when they are constantly of the same thing. This is something he likes to include in his films, and it’s totally ‘him’, but it contributes nothing to the story, and serves as a slowing point for an already slow-burn pace. When all the scenes take place in Mexico, Arizona or Texas we don’t need to see a 1 minute crawl of the desert as we switch between locations; especially when you’re going to write on the screen where we’ve gone to anyways!

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The cast in this was phenomenal, and every character played a pretty solid role in putting the pieces together, and adding layers to the tension/mystery. Emily Blunt plays a remarkable leading lady that is both vulnerable and strong. She’s an all-star, and I look forward to seeing her in more powerful leading roles (a la “Edge of Tomorrow”). Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro have pretty strong chemistry together, and really play off of each other considering how dynamically different the characters are. Adding in fantastic supporting roles, that are actually important to plot details (shocking!), are Jeffrey Donovan and Jon Bernthal; who I wish we had seen just a little bit more of. Watching Bernthal made me just THAT MUCH more excited for his turn as The Punisher in Netflix’s “Daredevil.”

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The story is what will really draw people in as there’s an underlying mystery you don’t even know you’re trying to solve until the final act. We are brought plot point to plot point so smoothly and elegantly, and the tension just keeps rising. Slowly we learn more and more about our characters, what their motives are, what their history is, and when it’s all said and done you just want more! The story just drops these character development bombs that really escalate this to another level, and I can’t wait for the already announced “Sicario 2.” I loved how Emily Blunt is the protagonist, but at the same time she isn’t the most important character. They handled that really well.

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Though a slow-burn, which doesn’t always work for everyone, “Sicario” has plenty of action and character development to keep everyone enthralled. With exception to useless/boring sweeping landscape/establishing shots, director Denis Villeneuve has officially outdone himself, and made me a believer that he is the right man for the monumental task of helming “Blade Runner 2.” An ensemble cast, excellent writing, and gripping tension helps elevate this to be one of the best films of the year. 4.5/5

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