Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve made a name for himself in 2013 with the kidnapping drama/thriller Prisoners; two years later, he’s back with another buzzed-about (and bleak) crime tale, in the form of Sicario. The film boasts an impressive cast headed by Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), along with Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin (who played The Collector and Thanos, respectively, in Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014), along with Walking Dead alum – and the newly-announced Punisher actor – Jon Bernthal, among other noteworthy character actors.
Sicario, the title of which is a Latin American term for “hitman” (as the movie’s trailer explains), stars Blunt as Kate Macer, an FBI agent who is recruited by an elite U.S. task force to cross the boarder into Mexico and help with the ongoing drug war. However, it doesn’t take long for Kate to realize that she’s now caught in a situation even more dangerous than what she was expecting – and that to make it out alive, she may have to cross some lines that she never thought she would.
The trailer for Sicario (see above) is pretty effective, all things considered; it’s taut, disturbing, and exciting all at once, without revealing much in the way of specific plot details from the script by Sons of Anarchy alum Taylor Sheridan (making his feature-length screenwriting debut). Sicaro also looks to be yet another gorgeously-shot film by cinematographer Roger Deakins, who previously collaborated with Villeneuve on Prisoners and will work alongside the director a third time on the currently-untitled Blade Runner sequel (set to begin production in Summer 2016).
It sounds as though certain Prisoners fans ought to likewise appreciate Sicario, not least of all because Villeneuve’s latest film also blends crime genre tropes with an intelligent social/political undercurrent (one that serves the story first). Positive reviews have started trickling in after the movie’s showing at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, with Variety’s Scott Foundas calling Sicario “a blisteringly intense drug-trade thriller [with] expert action and suspense.” Elsewhere, The Playlist‘s Jessica Kiang argues that Sicario lacks the “twistiness” of Prisoners as well as the “weirdness” of Enemy (a film by Villeneuve that released in 2014), but is nonetheless “a very solid procedural” taken as a whole.
Prisoners managed to attract a sizable adult moviegoer crowd when it reached theaters in September 2013, and it sounds as though Sicario could manage the same when it opens during the same month in 2015. Villeneuve’s latest grim drama offering won’t be for everyone, as his work tends to simply be too unsettling and grisly for some people; understandably so, though, given the subject matter he tends to explore onscreen. Nonetheless, this one could make for a nice change of pace, arriving so soon after the end of a season filled with spectacle-driven (and generally more upbeat) summer blockbuster fare.
Sicario opens in U.S. theaters on September 18th, 2105.