This is the land of wolves now


The thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy) has been lauded for its realistic depiction of violence, its cinematography and script.
Emily Blunt played the idealistic FBI volunteered to join force with an unpredictable CIA Matt (Josh Brolin), and a mystery figure Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), who later reviewed himself to be ruthless, merciless with a bloodthirsty revenge against the drug lord who was responsible for Alejandro’s family’ death.

Phew, writing a summary can be a bitch sometimes. But for those who haven’t seen Sicario, at least I should give them a hint. It’s more of a thriller-drama-crime-psychology genre than an action movie. It has somewhat three or four scenes with a bomb exploding and killing off Emily’s colleagues; then another one where Matt’s team fired bullets as alleged criminals, and when the team running into the tunnel where drug cartels hide. That’s about it. 80% of the movie all you see is people with really grim and serious expressions; Emily’s confusing eyes trying to figure out what was going on, why the hell she decided to take part in it in the first place; Josh’s smirk, as he saw Benicio tortured those they arrested until they spilled out about their boss. But you will remember Benicio’s merciless method of torture and killing – colder than ice, hotter than hell.

You would probably think the main character is Alejandro played by Benicio – I mean look at his face and figure – yeah scroll down and take a look. He is almost 50 now and he puts all the thirty-something to shame. Some might say his darkness stole the spotlight of the entire movie – but without light, how can we know there is darkness? It’s Emily’s power performance and character development that enhance both of [Benicio and Emily’s] roles in this hell on earth. Without one, the other might not be expressed truthfully and persuasively enough.

The last 15′ minutes of the film will shock you, but the beauty of all shock endings is that it leaves you wondering, tossing and turning because you cannot have a good explanation for it. And particularly for this movie, the end was perfect. It’s haunting, how Benicio’s character showed up at the boss’s house (spoiler, continue with precaution), calmly reminding boss of how he killed two innocent people, of which the boss replied “it’s nothing personal”. Benicio, without hesitation or final warning, fired and killed the boss’s children and wife. You can imagine yourself how the boss expressed his terrible surprise, before he himself was finished.

The scene was planned to be different: Alejandro told the wife bring the children away, then kill off the boss –  but to be honest if it ends like that this movie wouldn’t deserve any applause, because it’s a boring end – that’s not who Alejandro has turned out to be, he didn’t come all the way bang bang shoot shoot, just to spare the lives of the boss’s family –  he came to exact a perfect revenge. And what other way to revenge, if not to show the one who already killed him by beheaded his wife, and tossed his daughter into the acid tank – because to him “it’s personal” – true desperation and the taste of true blood [the boss’s family].

The last encounter occurred between Emily and Benicio – he was, first persuading her to sign on the paper declaring all they’ve done is “by the book”, then shoving the gun under her chin “or you will commit suicide”. Initially, it was intended for them to fight, that would have led Emily’s naked and totally broken physically and mentally, but both actors thought that it wasn’t necessary, so the finally it was changed into what I described above.

At last, the idealistic, righteous viewpoint of Emily broke down, piece by piece as she stood no chance in the “land of wolves”, where no real rule to be taken seriously, and no real justice but the law of the outlaws. She signed away her beliefs and she herself understood it clearly that there are things that cannot go any other way.
She tried to aim and shoot Benicio, but he knew that, he confronted her without backing down – telling her “shoot me dead if you like, but there is nothing you can do about the truth. Not a change or a revolution, or any justice you can bring to this land”. She now knew them all too well, as she lowered her gun and let him walk away (I imagine, into the glorious sunset).

Many people confused and felt the ending was unfulfilling. But I don’t think so. It is the best ending and most satisfying ending I have seen so far. Because like I said, no actual good ending is happy and solves all the issues that laid out in the movie. A good ending leaves us think.

It’s hard to watch if I’m alone, because I know I will do other stuff and lose concentration. But watching in Decibel Lounge when people – and by people I mean strangers – surrounding me, watching the movie with me, I’m contented nevertheless.

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