- 06 Jul 18
Intense thriller sequel is bleak but thought-provoking.
Dennis Villeneuve’s 2015 film Sicario was an intelligent and complex thriller exploring Mexican drug cartels, and the power the American government can yield in creating conflict and chaos – sometimes for the greater good, sometimes just for their own means.
In this sequel, director Stefano Sollima teams up with the original’s writer Taylor Sheridan, and its topic could not feel more relevant. Sicario: Day Of The Soldado explores how cartels are involved in human trafficking across the US-Mexico border, possibly including foreign terrorists, adding a further layer of danger and complexity to what is currently a horrific human rights issue.
In the interest of protecting America’s national security, CIA operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is given carte blanche to dismantle and eliminate the traffickers. Instead of starting a war between the cartels and US government, Matt plans to pit the cartels against each other. One major play is to kidnap the 12-year-old daughter Isabela (Isabela Moner) of kingpin Carlos Reyes and blame the Matamoros cartel – but unsurprisingly, little goes to plan.
Along with the unflappable and wisecracking Brolin, Benicio Del Toro also reprises his role as operative Alejandro, who suffered a huge loss in the first film. Charged with minding Isabela, his vulnerability becomes all too apparent.
His vague morality is necessary to counteract the relentlessly bleak violence, which is portrayed with tension and abandon. As car chases through the desert leave drivers blinded with dust, and as tween boys are converted into hardened gang members, Sollima’s film is dark and layered. It may not be as affecting as the original, but acts as a fascinating introduction to many other stories.