“Fiji?! Leave Fiji alone, terrorists.”
In Mexican, Sicario means hitman. In English, Sicario means atmosphere.
There is a quiet tension that permeates all of Denis Villeneuve’s features. It is searingly obvious in Prisoners, as Gyllenhaal’s police officer contrasts with the irate father played by Hugh Jackman. It dictates the pace of Enemy, as Gyllenhaal’s solemn depression echoes in the silence. Yet, the quiet tension is different in Sicario. It is subtler than both Villeneuve’s previous, silently radiating between each set of characters. The underlying mistrust between Blunt and Brolin and Blunt and Del Toro is palpable even when the characters do not share the screen, such is the strained heartbeat of the film.
These three actors make up the three-pronged-attack Sicario strikes with. The film begins heavily centred on Blunt’s FBI agent and her narrow field of vision. Quickly focus shifts onto Josh Brolin’s government enforcer, before honing in on Del Toro’s enigmatic talent. This rotation of importance takes us on a journey; one unlike anything I have ever experienced. Emily Blunt’s military-boot wearing, straight laced centrepiece fades into the foreground to enable the livley characters of Brolin and Del Toro to weave the intricate story out of plain sight. The casually assured demeanour of Brolin’s Matt Graver is a mystery in itself, while Del Toro’s deep set eyes mask his emotion.
Sicario‘s use of darkness reinforces the concrete-thick smokescreen that lies on top of the film. Whereas the saturation or dehydration of colour is the focus of many modern features, Sicario leaves the colour of its scenes alone, focusing on shadow and the night. This darkness creates some truly remarkable cinematography, and some subtle symbolism.
Whereas MacBeth burns its story and appearance straight onto your corneas, Sicario make you squint for its silhouette in amongst the darkness. Sicario is tense, taut, powerful and a thrill to behold.
Header courtesy of wallpaperspal. Images courtesy of allhiphop and black film respectively.