Thursday, June 28, 2018

SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO

Benecio Del Toro     Josh Brolin     Isabela Moner     Jeffrey Donovan    Catherine Keener
Elijah Rodriguez     Manuel Garcia     Matthew Modine     Bruno Bichir


     Taylor Sheridan is a writer whose fascination with the western ethos has prompted him to write screenplays highlighting the cultural (and cross-cultural) tugs and binds for people living in the spirit of the American West (Sicario, Hell or High Water, Wind River).  And now comes Sicario:  Day of the Soldado, where he picks up on the Mexican-American border and cartel issues seen in the first Sicario.  Our familiar protagonists, Alejandro (Del Toro) and Matt Graver (Brolin) are charged with pitting two Mexican cartels against each other to stem the tide of human trafficking to the U.S., which has now become the most valuable commodity for them.  
     The immediate plan is to kidnap the daughter of the Reyes cartel “king”, Isabel (Moner), and use her as leverage with the Matamoros cartel.  Things don’t go as planned, of course, and when Isabel escapes amidst gunfire and strikes out on her own, Alejandro goes after her, telling Matt to meet him at the border.  It will not be an easy task.  In the interim will be an encounter with a deaf-mute (fortunately, Alejandro knows sign language), identification of Alejandro and his charge by a sharp young trafficker at the border (Rodriguez), and no communication with the American agents.
     The film purposefully leaves us hanging in its last scenes, and sets us up for the inevitable sequel, which we all get tired of, but which will nevertheless be foisted upon us anyway.  Word on the street is that Emily Blunt will be featured in the third edition, but I hope that Sheridan will figure out how to write a role for her that will show strength and resourcefulness without the stereotypical “female” characteristics, which he seems to be stuck on.  
     One of the things that bothered me most in this film was to see Isabel portrayed in the beginning as a bully-female, beating up a fellow student and showing a narcissistic kind of entitlement when confronted by her school principal.  This scene kept me from sympathizing with her when she got kidnapped.  Yes, a privileged child might behave that way, but how much more inspiring and creative it would be to show her evolving as experience and time transpire.  The film shows a bit of this when she takes up for her captor at one point, but in this case, like with many of Sheridan’s female characters, it’s not a full-blown effect. It would have been better to give her more charisma and feistiness, making her someone the audience could delight in.
     Another underwritten character is Cynthia Foards (Keener), the supervisor of Graver.  She seems to follow her upper-level consultants mindlessly, without any creativity or assertiveness.
     Del Toro and Brolin play their roles as written with expert finesse, being the talented actors they are, but Del Toro can show much more frightening intimidation in his character and Brolin much more calculating bravado than they are given a chance to show here.  
      This is a good film, but seems to be another one in which the filmmakers are so focused on sequels they slight the film they are making.

Border patrol intrigue with twists.

Grade:  B                                                By Donna R. Copeland

2 comments:

  1. Anyone who lives in the world and follows movies has a pretty good idea of the main concept behind a quiet place: there are beings that will kill you if you make a noise. free movies online The film does very little to try to explain where these beings come from, all we know is how long they've been there for and that they have change the face of the planet in a pretty radical way. megashare9.tv We follow the Abbot family, who lives in a remote country house with an elaborate system to keep each other safe, but the main thing is that they have become very skilled at being very quiet. losmovies The incredible result of that premise is that the film has very little dialogue and instead, makes great use of visuals and sound. And there are truly stunning set pieces in this film, and without spoiling anything, Emily Blunt gives a stellar performance, as usual.

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