Movie Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado
click play below to hear the review:
Director: Stefano Sollima
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
by Jason Koenigsberg
Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin are both on a role and having really great 2018’s. Emily Blunt was terrific in A Quiet Place from last April and even though she does not star in Sicario: Day of the Soldado she was in the first one and her presence is greatly missed… but more on that later. Brolin on the other hand has had a spectacular summer, one for the record books starring as a villain in not one but two Marvel movies with the newest Avengers and Deadpool films. Even though Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a summer sequel, it is a huge departure from most other blockbusters and is a very different kind of movie from the other two that Josh Brolin has starred in recently. Sicario 2 is a gritty, violent and mature film, meant for mature audiences. It covers similar themes about how the war on drugs sponsored by our government is a futile effort and does not condemn nor condone the actions of the governments or the cartels. It does make sure that audiences realize that so many people have died and will continue to die for this war on drugs now crossed with the war on terror and that there is no end in sight.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado opens up with an aerial shot of the Texas/Mexico border at night with the ominous brass hum accompanying the image and text. It is the same loud drone sound that we have heard in every trailer for Sicario 2. We then see illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United States and they get stopped by federal border patrol agents. This movie is filled with very intense, loud explosions and gunfire. It also contains some very impressive long takes and camera maneuvers that pan around to some characters sitting in a car as they cross a dangerous road in the Mexican desert. Some other moments that really stood out involved a department store, a skydiving scene, and a finale that fits perfectly with everything we have seen and ties in thematically with the events from the first Sicario.
Along with it’s technical prowess, Sicario: Day of the Soldado excels as film with a timely and possibly timeless message. Beyond what was previously mentioned about its stance or lack thereof about the war on drugs, this film reflects our current events with topical themes regarding the US-Mexico border, building a wall, terrorism, immigration, splitting families apart, and human trafficking. One of the main characters this time around is a notorious drug dealer’s daughter played eloquently by Isabela Moner. This is one of the better child performances of recent years. She is being used as a pawn by both the US government and rival cartels, caught in the war she did not start and this illustrates what our world has turned into. Sicario: Day of the Soldado is about our children, the next generation that will inherit a lot of problems and conflicts created by the previous generation. This film is a commentary about our current political leaders and their policies which have hurt our families and will continue to tear families and nations apart as they result in unnecessary death.
Oh yeah. Back to Emily Blunt having a great 2018. She was in the first Sicario (2015) and probably had the most vital role in that film as the young agent being thrust into this war on drugs and she was the point of view that carried the viewer on their journey through all of the violence and gunshots. We saw and empathized with her character more than anyone else and the fact that there is nobody to empathize with in Sicario: Day of the Soldado hurts the film. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are both outstanding reprising their tough as nails characters. Catherine Keener and Matthew Modine are both on board this time and deliver solid performances with limited screen time. But nobody carried the torch of someone to take the audience on the journey into this dark and brooding world of the cartels and border patrol as Emily Blunt did so well in the previous film. Even the way that film ended, it like if they were going to make a sequel it would revolve around her character. But maybe we will have to wait for Sicario 3.