Sicario 2 Soldado - This Movie Rocks
Dir: Stefano Sollima
Starring Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Catherine Keener, Matthew Modine, Elijah Rodriguez
Emily Blunt may no longer be on the scene, but the second Sicario still knows how to rock along, in some ways it may even be a stronger ride, without the need to set up its morally ambiguous central team of Del Toro and Brolin, and the work they do on the Mexican border. From its explosive opening(s) Soldado throws us right into the action with the team setting out to instigate a war between the Mexican cartels, something that will finally afford Benicio’s former lawyer his shot at revenge for the murder of his family. Their plan is to kidnap the young daughter of one of the cartel heads and see how it all kicks off. What follows is as gripping and effective a thriller as has been seen all year, with incoming director Sollima proving himself skilled at not only staging complex action sequences, but, more importantly, even more able at building the tension either side of such set pieces.
Needless to say, things do not go to plan and Sicario 2 keeps you guessing as to which way events are going to play out, with both Brolin and (especially) Del Toro wracked by the quandaries their government force them into. Indeed, this is a film that couldn’t be more contemporary feeling given its emphasis on human trafficking and real life contemporary events playing out across the same Mexico border it focuses on here. But rather than resort to political diatribe (though an unnamed Trump does get a verbal battering at one point), it instead slowly moves into a form of contemporary western, something that becomes more pronounced as the film progresses.
The cast are uniformly strong, but it is the young Moner as the kidnapped Isabel, who goes through the wringer and emerges a star in the making. Behind the camera meanwhile, the gold star goes to Hildur Guonadottir’s superb menacing and propulsive score, which adds immeasurably to the tension of the piece.
As focused as the film is, a subplot featuring a young Mexican boy Miguel (Rodriguez) and his initiation into this way of life initially feels extraneous. But screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is no slouch and cleverly takes his time before bringing his disparate elements brilliantly, and brutally, together.
The movie does appear to go a red herring too far with a stretch of incredulity redolent of Peckinpah in its third act, but again Sheridan and Sollima find a way of bringing it all back home, to the point where by the end this has morphed into an Eastwood ghost western with its dark, dark heart clearly setting its sites on harsh revenge. In other words – bring on Sicario 3.
Follow us on Twitter @lastwordonearth