Sunday 25 October 2015

Sicario by Taylor Sheridan

Sicario (which, as the poster informs us, is Mexican for 'hitman') is easily the finest movie about the war against drugs since Traffic. This wonderful film is already, clearly, one of the best pictures of the year.

The film is written is by Taylor Sheridan, and unbelievably, it's his first produced screenplay. 

He does, however, have a considerable track record as an actor in television, credited as 'Tayler' Sheridan, where he had long runs in the wonderful Veronica Mars and also The Sons of Anarchy. I wonder if the latter series — focused on a drug-running biker gang — might have led to this well researched and beautifully written film script.

Although I tend to focus on the writer in these posts, full credit must also be given to Sicario's director, Denis Villeneuve, who has done a staggeringly good job. Villeneuve is a French Canadian and the only previous film I've seen of his was the glum but powerful Prisoners

One of the greatest assets of Sicario is its cast. Brit Emily Blunt is as wonderful as ever — a highly natural and affecting actress (when she flinches, we flinch, when she's scared, we're scared) who has moved on from comedies and relationship dramas to action pictures (last seen toting a gun, a very large gun, in Edge of Tomorrow) in a very interesting career trajectory. 

Supporting her are Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, both doing some of the best work of their careers.

The splendid photography is by Roger Deakins, who is perhaps a little too fond of shooting dust motes dancing in the sunlight, and the exceptional music, a pounding menacing monster of a score, is by the Icelandic Jóhann Jóhannsson, who also did Prisoners. You can hear some of that music here.

A serious, important and beautifully made film. Also, simply, a great thriller.

(Image credits: Exceptionally rich pickings and a fine selection of posters at Imp Awards.)

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