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20th Jan 2018

One of the most intensely brilliant thrillers of all time is on tonight

Saturday night in.

Rory Cashin

We don’t say that lightly.

There are just so many fantastic elements of this movie coming together, that it couldn’t be anything other than brilliant.

Before moving on to the envelope pushing sci-fi of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, director Denis Villeneuve had previously given us the fantastic kidnap thriller Prisoners and psychological, existential horror Enemy.

It would be the screenwriting debut of Taylor Sheridan, before he moved on to the equally fantastic likes of Hell Or High Water and Wind River.

Cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson combined their powers to create an overwhelming sense of dread and horror that, in other hands, might have just been another run-of-the-mill procedural.

And, of course, there was the trio of Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin in the lead roles, all bringing shades of grey to the scorched story of federal agents attempting to bring down a drug cartel on the Mexican border, crossing all kinds of lines to get the job done.

Welcome to Sicario.

Blunt plays an agent who is drafted in by Brolin’s shady government agent after she happens across a mid-way house filled with corpses, drugs and explosives, right in the middle of his investigation.

Sicario Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro Movie HD

She soon finds herself paired with an even more shady rogue hitman (which, in Spanish, is where the title comes from), played by Benicio Del Toro, who blurs the line between taking Blunt under his wing, and potentially killing her while she’s under there, should she do or say anything he disagrees with.

Both Deakins and Jóhannsson received Oscar nominations for their work, as they really do turn a drug-thriller almost into a horror movie, as the first thing we see when crossing the border into Mexico are dead bodies littering the streets as a warning to anyone who might go against the cartels.

It continues almost relentlessly from there to an incredibly tense shoot out in the middle of a major traffic jam right at the American border, and Blunt soon realises that she is so far out of her depth here that there might be next to no chance she will make it out of this situation alive.

The movie truly is one of the greatest thrillers ever made, which is why the producers have followed through with the upcoming sequel Soldado, due to arrive in cinemas on 29 June this year.

Sicario is on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.