Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The World's a Fine Place & Worth Fighting For

It's funny that I'd end up writing about David Fincher's Seven today (it's the 20th anniversary of that film) on the same day when I'm forcing my hand to get down my thoughts on Denis Villeneuve's Sicario, which nods its head towards that stalwart of the genre (along with Silence of the Lambs, of course) here and there. Nothing too overt, Sicario is trying to be its own thing, so maybe it was my own problem that I couldn't quite shake its predecessors ghosts and follow it down the road it defiantly wanted to follow.

But I think the last act of Sicario is a mistake, one that offers no favors to the goodwill the film's first hour built up. Without really getting into spoilers (although there is enough good stuff going on that I would suggest going in entirely cold, and therefore not reading even my dry hints towards story construction) let me just say that I felt as if the film loses sight of its main character in the final act and heads off on a jaunt I wish we'd left off-screen, imagined. 

It's funny because now there's talk of a sequel being built around the character who we follow off for the bulk of the story's conclusion (and now you probably know who I'm talking about if you've seen the news if not the film itself) and I find myself wishing they'd re-edit Sicario, cut those scenes right out of the movie, and save them for this second film. I can even imagine the film in my head without it - I know right where to begin cutting and right where to cut back - and I like that movie much better.

That said, I very much liked the first hour of Sicario. The cast, from Emily Blunt's steely turn on down, is killer -- they even found the best way to use Jon Bernthal, if Jon Bernthal must be used, that I could ever imagine up. And the score, like industrial suffocation, is the best music I've heard in a film so far this year - the tension rides on the tip of that musical spear, jab jab jab jabbing into your lungs.


Glenn said...

I think that the film sort of leaves its (supposed) lead character behind is entirely The Point. The American government have lost sight. That the character is a woman only adds to that. She's left behind.

JA said...

Yeah arguments like that did occur to me, but it just didn't work as as a viewing experience, for me. Everything that Benicio Del Toro does on his own felt ported in from another less-interesting movie, stuff I've seen a million times in lesser things -- I wasn't into any of that stuff.

I am fine with the narrative reasons for what happened, what you're explaining - for the entire thrust of her search to be taken away from her in the third ac. But I would've preferred it as a hole left in the narrative (just cut from her getting beat down in the ditch to Benicio showing up at her apartment to threaten her into signing the papers) over what we did get.

And the stuff with the cop hanging out with his kid littered thru the film didn't work for me either. All of their scenes were too cliched as well, and I was not wrapped up in him or his relationships enough to be moved by what happened to him.