THRILLER; 2hr 1min
STARRING: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin
Tunnel vision: Blunt
Following the gruesome discovery of a Mexican drug-cartel house in Arizona with decomposing corpses sealed inside, FBI agent Kate Macer (Blunt, transfixingly intense) is politely urged by the powers-that-be to volunteer for a government task force set up to hunt down a cartel heavyweight on the US-Mexican border. Just as well Kate wears her cool headedness as armour since her travelling companions — Del Toro as the shadowy Alejandro and Brolin as genial, self-proclaimed defence contractor Matt Graver — are hardly a mine of information.
“I just want to know what I’m getting into,” Kate understandably declares. But sometimes it’s preferable not to know, especially considering that sicario is Spanish for hitman, the roaches Kate, Alejandro, Graver and Co are rooting out are toxic and the entire, explosive caboodle is masterminded by the relentlessly confrontational Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Prisoners). The director plays another nerve-wracking, morally equivocal game, ratcheting the death-splattered tension notch by uncertain notch. For Kate, whose ethical preconceptions are shattered from the get-go, the unwieldy chase becomes a confounding maze of blurred lines. Knitting them together with a white-knuckle bang, Villeneuve’s final countdown is as breathless as a racing pulse.