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Manuel de Layet [Celluloid 05.25.15] thriller drama mystery crime

"Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein." - Jenseits von Gut und Böse 1886

The latest Villeneuve, Sicario laboriously tries to commit that simple a concept as Aphorism 146 into moving pictures. The result is flavorless, predictable and, as with a good cross section of the official selection this year, hardly worthy of being seen on a big screen.

I'm pretty disappointed. I mean with all the buzz around you were guaranteed a less than stellar experience, but being able to thoroughly encapsulate a whole feature film with a pair of sentences from Nietzsche should NOT happen at this time and place. When the
whole crux of the matter is contained in the paltry twenty eight words above, what is left for me to write about ?

If I quote the press kit, the synopsis reads: "In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent [Emily Blunt] is enlisted by an elite government task force official [Josh Brolin] to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past [Benicio Del Toro], the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive." And honestly I didn't see quite that.

The character of Kate isn't idealistic rather, it's the epitome of the civil servant stereotype; she cannot live without following a set rules and procedures. While she actually volunteers for the black ops job, she is unable to adapt or even to understand the stakes at play or follow a direct order, basically putting everything in jeopardy on multiple occasions. She is the Abyss gazer, the reality she faces in the course of the plot will shatter her foundations, making her even more psychorigid and obnoxious. And quite hilarious as a corollary.

As for the central character, while Del Toro plays him between silent rage and crushing desperation, the actual background story on how he became the Dragon is a tad ludicrous - even for such a clichéd narrative.

There are beautiful shots of the desert and badlands trying to set a mood the actual script can't provide and a less than necessary recourse to artificial pathos enhancer. At regular intervals we are treated with little "meanwhile, back in Juarez" sequences. A father having breakfast with his wife and son, planning mundane activities like football.

At the second one you're basically certain the guy will get killed and thrown in a ditch to show how the big bad drug cartels affects the lives of everyone and yada yada... Like the piles of mutilated corpses littering the streets aren't enough to convey that idea. Are there really people that are sensitive to that Methuselah era plot recourse?

This one is a good for a free cable access production but nothing more.

Recommended Release: Enemy

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