Sicario was one of the best movies of 2015. It really stuck with me, and it frustrates me that it got such little awards recognition from the Academy, despite placing highly on a few smaller award lists. The movie follows FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) as she becomes enmeshed in a shady operation with the CIA working to take down cartel figures in Juarez, Mexico. She is recruited by CIA officer Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) who leads the team, with the help of creepy, mysterious Alejandro Gilick (Benicio Del Toro), a man with motivations of his own.
The movie was fantastic, from the stunning cinematography from the legendary Roger Deakins to the creeping, insidious score from Jóhann Jóhannsson. As we continue watching the tense and exhilarating adventures of Kate, the movie explores the complexity of the drug war and how nothing is as simple as black and white. Emily Blunt is phenomenal as the tough, capable, complicated Kate and it’s frankly ridiculous she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. Similarly ridiculous is how Benicio Del Toro wasn’t nominated either. He had one of the best supporting acting performances of the year.
Thinking about that makes me mad, but the movie itself? Excellent and highly recommended for fans of thrillers. It’s not a comedy, but I don’t think anyone is going to get confused here. Now what about the Blu-ray itself?
The video is a 1080p High Definition, 16×9, 2.40:1 presentation with a beautiful transfer to the disk, really enhancing the scenes in the dark or twilight. The sound is English Dolby Atmos, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Viewing, and English Descriptive Audio. Subtitle options include English, Spanish, and English SDH. The audio is critical for this movie, with dialogue key and the score incredibly engrossing, so another great transfer here.
The Blu-ray also includes the following special features:
- Stepping Into Darkness: The Visual Design of Sicario (16:46): In this segment we hear from the director, writer, production designer and producer about the themes of the the movie, focusing on the “journey through darkness about how as humans how far should we go to protect ourselves.” We also hear from director of photography Roger Deakins on how they worked to create authenticity and atmosphere with the resources available; for example, they couldn’t shoot in the real Juarez as it was too unsafe, so they had to shoot in Mexico. A fascinating piece.
- Blunt, Brolin & Benicio: Portraying the Characters of Sicario (14:35): In this segment we hear from the three lead actors talking about their interpretations of the characters. They talk about Blunt as the lead female character, the weight on Del Toro’s character, and how Brolin interprets the complexity of his character. This was great to get insight into these characters.
- A Pulse from the Desert: The Score of Sicario (6:19): In this segment, composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and director Denis Villeneuve discuss the vital and excellent score from Sicario, discussing influences like the movie Jaws and the sound of a deep, visceral drone as a motif, something that affected the audience in a direct way in your body. Learning about the score was fascinating.
- Battle Zones: The Origins of Sicario (13:45): This segment focuses on the political nature of the movie, with writer Tyler Sheridan discussing the machine of selling drugs and the machine of stopping them with words, with journalists talking about the horrors of the drug war. The writer also discusses how it is important to see through the eyes of someone who really suffered the horrors of the war. I suppose that this was informative, but it was more like an educational tool than the other segments.
Overall, if you missed Sicario in theaters, this Blu-ray release is worth your while. Sicario is also available in DVD, Streaming and 4K editions. Lionsgate generously provided Hotchka with a Blu-ray copy of Sicario for reviewing purposes.