Sicario is a haunting crime thriller that illustrates and explores the morally grey tactics that are employed when facing the Mexican drug cartel. The film considers that each side uses harrowing tactics. In the penultimate scene, Fausto Alarcon (Julio Cedillo) asks Alejandro Gillick, who is played with fierce intensity by Benicio Del Toro, “Who do you think we learnt it from.” Gillick’s involvement in the war on drugs resulted in him losing his wife and daughter in harrowing incidents. Moreover, through his character we see that the American side has resorted to ruthless personal sentiment and illegal tactics to combat the war on drugs.
The violence in Sicario is excellent because of its matter of fact manner and the psychological effect it has on its characters. The most evocative example is in the previously mentioned scene with Gillick and Alarcon. Without remorse and with terrifying precision Gillick shoots Alarcon’s wife and children. He then proceeds to ask Alarcon to finish his meal. We then see a fleeting shot of Alarcon’s dead family and then cut to his facial expressions, which are stunned, utterly fearful but have a contrary sense of quiet defiance. The violence in the scene feels real, raw and gut-wrenching to witness.
Finally, the film has a strong central performance from Emily Blunt. A lot of the shots in the picture are of the lingering expressions of Blunt’s character, Kate Macer. In these quiet moments, Blunt’s portrays an acute sense of deep seeded thinking and doubt, which strongly emphasises the film’s moral murkiness.