In recent years, Denis Villeneuve (2014's "Enemy" and 2013's "Prisoners") has distinguished himself as one of modern cinema's most vital filmmakers. No singular feature of his is like the others, and yet they collectively form a unified, visionary, ever-growing body of work as electrifying as it is momentous. "Sicario" is not merely a transfixing thriller, but a pivotal one, immersing the viewer so entirely into its stark web of underground drug-trading and lawfully muddied federal maneuvering that one forgets a movie is being watched at all. Running 121 minutes but feeling like the wink of an eye, the film epitomizes what happens when every last creative and technical element is operating together at the highest level possible.
When an FBI SWAT team converges on a suburban Arizona home suspected in connection to the Mexican-run Sonora cartel, they find much more than they bargained for: lines of plastic-wrapped corpses buried in the drywall and a detonating explosive device that claims the lives of two officers. Field agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), who made the ghastly walls-of-horror discovery, is full of by-the-book ideals, driven by a desire for justice. Enlisted by defense department contractor Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to join his inter-agency task force, Kate is given scant details about their mission until she is being transported beyond their expected El Paso destination and across the border into the crime-riddled Juérez, Mexico. With the enigmatic Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) leading the charge, they set a plan into motion to smoke out cartel mastermind Manuel Díaz (Bernardo P. Saracino) by kidnapping his brother from prison. As Kate begins to question her role in the increasingly perilous operation, her trust unravels toward the true motives and identities of the authoritative men surrounding her.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review