Sicario is a 2015 film about a Mexican drug cartel killing people in the US.
10 out of 10 stars. I hesitate to give this 10 stars because I absolutely hate Emily Blunt. Both she and Daniel Kaluuya were very poorly cast as two rookie FBI agents. They’re both Brits and their ideas of American behavior were caricatures at best. That aside, Taylor Sheridan wrote a beautiful screenplay. He also wrote Wind River.
The film begins with an FBI SUV (which seems almost like a tank) breaking through the wall of Chandler, Arizona home. Inside are the members of a drug cartel and after they’ve shot everyone, they find more than 35 dead people in the walls of the house. They were ritually executed. They also find plenty of cocaine and plenty of money. While two police officers are outside checking out the shed, they pull a trap door and a bomb goes off killing them both and wounding many others. Arms are flying in the air. It’s pretty awful. That’s the driving force behind this film: the rookie FBI agent who is given a chance to hurt the cartel who did this.
Kate Macer and her partner Reggie Wayne are rookie FBI agents. They’re rigid by-the-book types and Reggie is a former attorney. Already I hate them. They are “invited” to a meeting with some unknown figures where they sit in a lobby being inspected by the head honchos. Then suddenly Kate is pulled inside and asked if she wants to join a task force to hurt the Sonora drug cartel. In order to be on the task force, she has to volunteer. She does, not realizing the only reason she’s there is because the CIA cannot operate on US soil without a government agency attached. Enter Kate dumb-dumb.
On this task force is a mysterious Hispanic man named Alejandro played by the ever cryptic Benicio del Toro. Almost immediately Kate trusts Alejandro and he’s the one she listens to. In fact, he’s the only one she listens to and even then only sometimes. She’s like a rogue dumb-dumb. The head of this task force is CIA operative Matt Graver played eerily well by Josh Brolin. He and Alejandro have an agreement. Alejandro will help them as long as they get him close to Fausto del Arcon, the third man at the top of the Sonora drug cartel, who ordered the gruesome murders of Alejandro’s wife and daughter. Alejandro used to be a prosecutor in Juarez, putting drug cartel members in prison. After they killed his family, he became a sicario, a hitman, for the Medellin Colombian cartel (the competition).
If you like spoilers (I do), here they are.
Their first objective is to get Fausto del Arcon’s money frozen in the US. Fausto’s attorney in the US is Manuel Diaz. Manuel’s brother, also in the business, is Guillermo Diaz. They can’t immediately get to Manuel, but they can get to Guillermo. So Matt makes a few phone calls and lo and behold, the Juarez Police Department is holding Guillermo for them. They tell Kate they’re going to El Paso to pick up Guillermo. But they fly to El Paso, get about 20 mercenaries and a boatload of weapons to help them, get in 5 bulletproof SUVs and drive across the border to Juarez to the Police Department, escorted by the Federal Police or Federales. In case you don’t know, the Federales are paid for by the cartel. Along the way they pass the famous Juarez overpass where the cartel hangs dead bodies. They’re always missing a head, leg, arm, or something, and are always shamed in some way.
They reach the Juarez Police Department, grab Guillermo, and immediately head back to the border. Keep in mind the distance from the Juarez Police Department to the US border is only 4 miles. Yes, that close. On the way back they are followed. They whiz through the border but then get stuck in a traffic jam on the US side. Someone screwed up. And as they’re sitting there, they identify the two drug cartel cars loaded with hit men come to kill them. There’s a shootout and dumb-dumb almost gets killed (because she does not listen). No stray bullets are fired anywhere near any civilians. In fact, it is a precision strike. Shocking really, because that hardly ever happens. 😉
Once back in El Paso, they torture Guillermo. He tells them the Sonora cartel is getting drugs into the US through a tunnel that goes from Nogales into Arizona. That’s a big territory. They need it narrowed down a little. Coincidentally, Alejandro’s friend in the Juarez prosecutor’s office tells him the area where the tunnel comes out in Arizona. So their team goes to the nearest deportation center to that location and interviews some of the Mexicans they’ve picked up in that area. They tell them exactly where the tunnel comes out, an entrance hidden by an abandoned car.
The next phase is to freeze the cartel’s money. They wait outside of the bank where the drug cartel runners make the deposits and get it on film. This is enough to freeze the bank accounts. Several runners will come in every day to the same bank with color coded rubber banded stacks of cash and deposit it to the same account. This colored rubber bands are distinctive and only used by the cartel. Kate dumb-dumb burst out of the SUV, runs inside the bank, and makes a stink, demanding on seizing all of Manuel’s records. 🙁 What a moron. She does this immediately after Matt orders her to stay in the SUV. Now she’s a target by the cartel. They own that bank.
That night Reggie takes Kate to a cowboy bar and introduces her to Ted, a friend of his who is a deputy. She takes him home and is about to have sex with him when he empties his pockets and a colored rubber band comes out with his keys. She sees it, freaks out, and does a pretty bad job of trying to arrest him. He has her on the floor in seconds strangling her to death. Then Alejandro comes in. 🙂 He’s our hero, at least for this scene. He beats the crap out of Ted and gets the names and phone numbers of every cop on the cartel’s payroll in the entire state. 🙂
Meanwhile, we are shown Silvio, a Nogales cop with a son who likes playing soccer. He works most nights and sleeps most days, so he spends very little time with his son. He works for the cartel, picking up carloads of cocaine in his police car then driving them to the Nogales entrance to that tunnel for carriers to bring across the border.
That evening, Matt’s team gets ready to take the tunnel out. They have night vision googles and Alejandro. Kate dumb-dumb and idiot Reggie are supposed to stay behind. Kate doesn’t. Once they’re in the tunnels, instead of following the team, she follows Alejandro who comes out on the Nogales side, kidnaps Silvio, and forces him to intercept Manuel’s car. Then he kills Silvio, forces Manuel to drive him to Fausto’s home, kills Manuel and the guard, and finally exacts his revenge against Fausto. He kills his two sons and wife in front of him. Seconds later, he kills Fausto. Done.
A few days later, Kate is determined to report Matt, Alejandro, and the entire team because she’s well, dumb and not a team player. Alejandro comes to her apartment, points a gun to her head, and has her sign a statement that the entire operation was strictly “by the book”.
The end. Wasn’t it awesome?
10 out of 10 stars. Loved it. It has everything–great writing, great music, great cinematography. Unfortunately it also has two idiot Brits who didn’t do their research.