My Favorite Scene: Sicario (2015) “Border Crossing”

Today’s Election Day here in the United States, which means as you read this, there is every chance I am in a voting booth screaming and banging my head against the wall.  So, I decided to forgo anything thematic and focus on what appears to be the upcoming weekend’s science fiction masterpiece, The Arrival, and more specifically Denis Villeneueve.  He first popped on to my radar with the amazing Incendies, then I am still trying to recover from Prisoners, but for most audiences he went mainstream with last year’s Sicario.
Emily Blunt, Sicario

The film, which chronicles US law enforcement’s strange partnership with a wolfish freelancer (Benicio del Toro) in an effort to take down Mexican drug cartels features fantastic performances by del Toro and Emily Blunt (is there any actress as versatile as Blunt?) and Villeneuve’s specialty: tension.

There isn’t a director working today who can build tension slowly to the kind of white-knuckled boil that Villenueve can.  He does is so subtly and effortlessly that you don’t realize every muscle in your body is clenched until he springs his trap.  There’s an even bigger one in Sicario, but it’s too spoilery and if you haven’t seen his work, this is the most mainstream film to start with if you see The Arrival and want more.

Benicio Del Toro, Sicario

During the course of their war with the cartel, US law enforcement makes an incursion into cartel territory over the border in Mexico.  Getting over went just fine……but the trip back was a tense trip that went horribly wrong.  Lots of directors could have shot this as a great action scene, but with Villeneueve it was an orchestrated ballet of music and angles and tiny details building to an explosive battle to survive the trip back into the States.
Emily Blunt, Sicario

2 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: Sicario (2015) “Border Crossing””

  1. The question of the hour is, do you think he’s right for Blade Runner, and do you think he’s capable of puling it off? Something tells me it’s time for a sequel (that’s if a sequel absolutely must be made) because I watched the Final Cut a few days ago, and for the first time in my life I thought it felt slightly dated. I love that the sequel is to be set thirty plus years after the original. I can only imagine how the Los Angeles of Blade Runner has evolved. Visually, I expect something special. If Scott were directing that’s all I would expect (albeit in a halfhearted way) but he stepped aside to make Alien spinoffs for the rest of his career, and I salute him for it, because he chose the sci-fi masterpiece from his filmography that would cause me no distress if he ran it into the ground. But Blade Runner… that’s a special movie to me, and while I don’t want to see a sequel (that bears repeating) I’m glad some very talented new blood has been hired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a huge Blade Runner fan. I think the film is a slog, to be honest, but I respect it and I think if anyone can bring more to that (and later tackle Dune as he wants to) it’s Villeneueve. He’s going to win an Oscar. It’s only a matter of time. The last three films he’s made, I’ve given 10’s. He takes Hitchcock’s approach to building tension but does it in a way that never feels anything other than original.


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