Movie Review: Sicario

by Steve Lancaster5/19/17
In Mexico Sicario means hitman  •  This 2015 production could be one of the most worrisome movies of recent times. There is no date for the movie except that Juarez is in the middle of a cartel war. The peak of this war with the most violence was in 2010/11, however, the violence continues today to make Juarez and Mexico in general as dangerous, if not more so than Iraq.

(Macer) Emily Blunt heads the cast as an FBI agent in Phoenix running a hostage/kidnap rescue team. While doing her duty she leads a team that raids a house in Chandler to rescue hostages thought to be held there. There are no hostages, but during the raid over 40 bodies turn up plastered into the walls. Two policeman are killed by an IED wired to a trapdoor.

The response from the Justice Department is to bring in specialist “consultants” from the DOD. One of these consultants is Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a mysterious operative that the viewer assumes is CIA. Macer is persuaded to join an interagency team by her superiors at FBI. This team flies from Phoenix to Ft. Bliss meets up with Delta Force team and travels to Juarez Mexico to bring back a witness. It is here that she meets with Alejandro (Del Toro).

On the return from Mexico the convoy is ambushed on the bridge of the Americas by cartel members seeking to kill the witness, Delta takes care of them quickly. As the convoy crosses the border the comment is made, “That is going to be on the front page of every newspaper in the country.” Matt says, “It won’t even be on the news in Juarez.” Macer is shocked that the shootout is condoned by Matt. She asks again, if he is CIA. To which he replies, “I’m a DOD consultant.”

The goal of the op is to force the cartel to call back the head of cartel interests in North America. To put pressure on the cartel Matt plans a raid on their money and temporally seizes 17 million dollars. The end goal of this op is to insert Alejandro (the sicaro) into Mexico to follow the cartel head back to his boss, and to kill him. It is at this point that Macer understands that she is only involved to provide cover for a CIA covert op inside of US borders.  Law requires that CIA can only operate within US borders in conjunction with domestic law enforcement. A law that is violated on a regular basis, with a wink and a nod.

In explaining the op to Macer, the realities of the drug war Matt says, “as long as 20% of the American people continue to smoke, and shoot this shit into their bodies, control is the best we can hope for.”

There are a variety of themes in this movie. The drug theme is the most noticeable but also the corruption of Mexican politicians and law enforcement, and how that corruption infects American officials. The worrisome part is the acknowledgement that the border is essentially a lawless wasteland of open and covert war without apparent end.

I recommend this movie. The violence is not gratuitous and not near as graphic as it could be and the challenge of legal and illegal drugs is presented with some restraint. As Alejandro says to Macer, “This is a time of wolves and you are not a wolf” • (212 views)

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5 Responses to Movie Review: Sicario

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    This lawlessness comes with the gangs. The more we allow such gangs here by failing to control the borders, the more American cities will share the chaos of the border.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Tim,
      True enough, but chicken and egg. Do the gangs create the chaos caused by the drug trade, or does the drug trade create the gangs? A more important question is do democrats create the conditions that make the drug trade possible?

  2. Lucia says:

    The point that there would be no drug traffic if there was no demand for it cuts close to my home, literally. Since recreational pot was legalized in Oregon, pot farms have sprouted up in my rural neighborhood like mushrooms after the rain storm. Property owners have been offered $30,000 a year to lease part of their pasture to pot growers and many have found it irresistible. Just within 5 miles of my house there are 7 pot farms. Most residents just shrug their shoulders and pretend that what their neighbors do is none of their business, but the type of people who work on these farms aren’t the kind that make good neighbors. We’ve had to form a neighborhood watch due to trespassers looking for tools to steal and last year someone stole our portable irrigation pump hidden out of sight by the creek that runs through our property. Other neighbors have noticed that last summer water trucks made regular runs to where the creek begins on public lands, most likely to steal water, and possibly using my stolen pump. I’ve asked a couple of neighbors if they’d notify me when they see another one of those trucks this summer but one of them said it was none of their business.

    I’ve always thought that our little valley is a microcosm of our nation at large. Half of the residents are honest hardworking people and the other half couldn’t care less what happens outside of their own heads. An interesting fact published in the papers is that despite the legalization of pot, Oregon is still leading the nation at being the 4th largest producer of black market pot. Go figure.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Farmers are among the most vulnerable people to theft. If nothing else, how can they protect their crops from those seeking free food? And one problem many rural people face is drug-dealers planting illegal crops on their lands, usually in a forested area that’s little visited. I suspect that even where marijuana is legal, the sort of people who deal it tend not to be very oriented toward society instead of merely self.

  3. Lucia says:

    My point about sharing our little pot problem is to show that even in “paradise”, which is what the peace and safety of our little valley represents, we have to fight against lawlessness that threatens to steal all that we’ve worked for. It’s a microcosm of our nation at large. Another big pot farm is going up right across the street this summer. I’ve been watching the trees come down as they log the 12 acres. That would make it pot farm number 4 along our 3 mile stretch of road. I wish I could say, along with my neighbor, that it isn’t any of my business, and just live and let live. But we all have to be vigilant these days, in our own personal lives as well as being citizens of this country. We have to care about what goes on beyond our own property line, because eventually, it will make us care.

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