Sicario – 6.5

I look on this as a mood piece with a riveting score, maybe an homage to the Coens’ No Country for Old Men, with Benicio del Toro in the Javier Bardem role. Or it could be a domestic analogue to Zero Dark Thirty, with torture and extra-legal black ops producing the assassination of the Mexican drug kingpin. Looked at as a realistic plot, however, it made about as much sense as The Martian. There was also the continual question of what Emily Blunt – or more exactly, Emily Blunt’s character – was doing in this movie. I kept wondering what particular skill set she had that qualified her to be chosen for the “interdepartmental team.” When we learned that her job was to stay out of the way and keep quiet, it was even clearer that someone – whether the casting director or the estimable Victor Garber – had grossly miscalculated. Even more puzzling was what her (African-American) sidekick was doing on the team, especially since he had been expressly rejected – “No lawyers!” – at the outset. It was a kick to watch Josh Brolin and del Toro waltz through their tough-guy roles: I chortled with pleasure at their drolleries. But the more I thought about the movie afterward, the more annoyed I became. But what should I expect from a French-Canadian director’s take on an American anti-drug mission in Mexico?

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