by Steve Lancaster 5/19/17
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” • (423 views)