Sicario

 

Lionsgate

 

Rating: R

 

Reason for the Rating: Strong violence, grisly images, and language

 

Plot Summary: An idealistic FBI agent gets involved in a clandestine mission that crosses international borders

 

PopFam Recommends: This is an intense, unique and thought-provoking film, best for adults and mature teens.

 

Sicario is a film whose title gives away more than you know, but only if you understand the meaning of the word. And the opening of Sicario should give away what this movie is about, as it explains the origins of the word “sicario,” and that currently it references a hitman in Mexico.

 

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is an FBI field agent who happens across a nightmare after raiding a home owned by the Diaz drug cartel. After this gruesome and violent raid, Kate is approached by the mysterious Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), who claims to be a Department of Defense contractor. Impressed by her abilities, he extends to her the opportunity to be part of a team who will go after bigger fish in an effort to stop the violence and steady stream of drugs coming into the US.

 

Told they are going to El Paso, Kate arrives at the airport ready for whatever Matt has for her. But when she takes her seat on the private plane they’ve chartered, he quickly falls asleep, leaving her introduce herself to Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) and attempt to figure out who he is and who he works for. But, as she discovers, no one is giving up information about themselves or what she’s gotten herself into.

 

Sicario is full of tension and anticipation. The mystery surrounding their mission only deepens with each step taken and every character introduced. As it turns out, El Paso isn’t their ultimate destination, but Juarez, Mexico where they see mutilated bodies hanging from overpasses and hear gunfire popping throughout the city. All courtesy of the Diaz cartel, who controls the city through violence and terror. Upon returning to the U.S., Kate is continuously frustrated in her efforts to understand what’s happening around her and the purpose of their mission.

 

And Kate’s not the only one kept in the dark. Writer Taylor Sheridan lays out the story in such a way that the audience figures things out at the same time as Kate, which makes the movie uncomfortable and full of anticipation. Tense. This is not a movie you relax into and enjoy, or even watch in anticipation while understanding the purpose and forward motion. This is one where you find yourself saying, “Huh? Who is he? What are they doing? What is going on??” from the moment Kate meets Matt until the final minutes.

 

Sicario well deserves its R rating, and parents should be aware that is full of violence and gruesome scenes. As such, it is a movie parents should seriously consider before letting younger children or tweens see it.

 

Director Denis Villeneuve puts this movie together in a way that makes it hard to watch, but impossible to tear away from, as well. Emily Blunt plays her part masterfully, as she embodies confusion and hesitancy in her role, and, of course, Benicio Del Toro is as you would expect. A perfect combination. Interestingly, Sicario hasn’t been nominated for any of these achievements, but instead for Sound Editing, Music, and Cinematography, which shows what a well-rounded movie this is.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Do you think violence and illegal activities are justified if the end result is positive for a large percent of the population?

 

• In much of the movie, Kate is confused and hesitant about what’s happening around her. How would this movie have been different, if she had been a stronger force?

 

• What was the message the screenwriter was trying to get across? Was he successful?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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