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SICARIO 2: DAY OF THE SOLDADO

SYNOPSIS:
The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro).

Review by Louise Keller:
Hard-hitting, engrossing and intelligent, this is a moody and satisfying sequel whose narrative takes flight on the wings of a growling soundscape. In Denis Villeneuve's original film, we were introduced to the horrors of borderland drug war through the eyes of an innocent protagonist (played by Emily Blunt). The pitch of the film's intensity was like a scream. Here the scream continues (without Blunt or Villeneuve): the intensity remains. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are back and we are in the middle of the action. There is no escape.

Starting with Taylor Sheridan's superb screenplay, director Stefano Sollima (Gomorrah) has created a unsettling, thought provoking film that will keep you riveted. Dark, tense and sobering, our moral compass is constantly questioned in this affecting glimpse into a disturbing world where innocent lives are tossed on the roulette wheel of life.

Following a chilling opening raid and suicide bombing sequence that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, Brolin's federal agent Matt Graver is enlisted by the government to 'start a war' between the cartels. The carte blanche he is given is far from white. It means things are going to get dirty. People, including suicide bombers are now the most valuable commodity trafficked across the border. The scene when Graver recruits Alejandro in Bogota is a masterful example of less is more. Catherine Keener is a formidable presence as the tough CIA boss overseeing the mission.

Central to the action is Isabel (Isabela Moner), a feisty, outspoken teenage girl who is kidnapped in broad daylight. The scene at the exclusive girls' school when Isabel has a catfight in with another student is key in that it establishes character. We soon learn where she fits into the jigsaw.

Heart of the film lies in the bond between Del Toro and Brolin, their exchanges all the more powerful by minimal dialogue. Both are physical actors, able to convey maximum emotion with minimal delivery. Brolin has muscle; Del Toro has soul. Look for the scene when the two men have a brief exchange on the phone. It is moving - especially because of what is NOT said. Even dirty work has unspoken rules - for men with a moral code.

Sheridan mixes things up in a film that is often littered by violence and killing. The story strands are nicely meshed together, like the one involving the young would-be sicario (hit-man) Miguel (Elijah Rodriguez), who is seduced into cartel life. Superb.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SICARIO - Review 2015

SICARIO 2: DAY OF THE SOLDADO (MA15+)
(Italy/US, 2018)

CAST: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine

PRODUCER: Basil Iwanyk, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill, Molly Smith

DIRECTOR: Stefano Sollima

SCRIPT: Taylor Sheridan

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dariusz Wolski

EDITOR: Matthew Newman

MUSIC: Hildur Giuonadottir

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kevin Kavanaugh

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 28, 2018







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