Thursday, September 01, 2016

Sicario: 1 Brilliant Moment of Tension

CineFix posted this 9 min analysis of the border sequence of last year's Sicario. I suppose it's all spoiler but it's about an action sequence and not really about plot.

So if you've seen Sicario I'm interested in your thoughts. I read great reviews and found it just meh (and I'd mostly forgotten about it).

So the sequence above, sure there was some tension, but I didn't find the final moments so tense, mostly because I didn't think a car full of 4 drug dealers with handguns would be able to do anything to Delta Force who prepared for this kind of situation and seemed to have it well it hand. The "real threat" of the police guy at end then, was more a jump scare and he was on screen for so short a moment I didn't realize he was police or disguised as police until this video said so. I also don't believe that 8 special forces people getting out of their cars allowed someone to walk up behind them. Finally, I just don't get how after the shooting the cars in their lane are magically gone (not just moved over to other lanes) so they can just drive on. I also would have liked a little something about the civilians in the cars around this incident.

Spoilers for rest of movie

Overall I found the film a bit annoying and I'm pretty sure it's deliberate. It's definitely from Kate's point of view as she doesn't know what she's gotten herself into and we don't either. It's not just the bad guys that are keeping secrets from her, it's also all the good guys, the ones supposedly on her team, and it's throughout the mission she's (supposedly) a part of. It's remarkably frustrating and I found this frustration dissipated some of the tension described above.

I've read some reviews saying the point was to show it from a woman's point of view, one that is being discriminated against or abused (in this case both professionally and sexually). The frustration I felt is the frustration Kate felt and it's representative of what a lot of women go through. I do agree this was deliberate in the film and a major theme, but it feels a little too shoehorned in. It's not at all what I was expecting from trailers or reviews, fair enough. It's also not really what I was expecting from early in the film, where she's shown to be really competent and the "abuse" could have been purely professional. We see stories all the time with men where "the feds" come in to take over jurisdiction and others where "special forces hotshots" show disdain for everyday soldiers/agents/cops. But also the action climax is taken away from her and is given to Benicio Del Toro and even that concludes a thematic arc about the cycle of violence in the drug war. Kate's story is left as a coda. Maybe that emphasizes how her story was taken away from and that works towards the discrimination story too well. It really frustrated me, and while that may be the point, and it may have been delivered really well, it's still a movie that frustrated me and I didn't love. It popped up on cable recently, I might give it another shot.

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