By Alexandra Boyd, Mutton Club film critic.
Sicario review: Slightly false advertising
So poor Emily Blunt was hoodwinked into being in an action film. Well done. But then we are in the Hollywoodland of Male Dominated Scenarios and Inequality involving narcotics, the FBI and a Rambo-style Mexican Cartel Revenge mission.
Looking at the poster, Emily’s all up front holding her gun in a meaningful manner so it’s clear the producers are proud they’ve collared the very British, and very good, young Ms Blunt. They no doubt enticed her with a hefty paycheck – even if it was (guessing) only half what her co-stars Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro were paid. Sigh.
Things start out very well with a horrifyingly surreal opening scene revealing a house containing the doings of a dreadful and fulsome Mexican drug cartel-slash-immigration racket. The two go hand in hand of course. And then a bomb goes off. And boom! (Literally!) We’re off and running! To Mexico itself as that’s where said Mexican Cartel all live of course.
Emily is chosen over her male counterpart and because she’s divorced and has no kids (‘cos they checked first) to go with Josh and Benicio on a Very Special and Very Dangerous Mission which, it turns out, is actually, really only so’s Ben can shoot the guy responsible for the hideous deaths of his sweet and innocent family.
Much of the time poor old Em’s got the Rabbit Caught In The Headlights Look as she observes and then, of course, protests the actions of her male colleagues. She’s told to put up or shut up – rather violently by Josh at one point. But she never gets to fill in an HR report. What would be the point? Only p**sies fill out reports. Or do they….? #spoileralert!
She’s even set as a Honeytrap at one point. Come on guys! A little more imagination please! In My Humble Opinion, they shudda-cudda worked out a way to bring Emily properly onto The Team by giving her a ‘she saved the day today’ bit when the chips are down, so she got to aide Josh and Ben side by side in their Super Top Secret Quest…. But the script sadly denies her this privilege. Instead of writing her into That Scene, the one the whole darn shooting match is leading up to, she suddenly disappears from view until Ben gets his solo revenge, then turns up (at her lonely bachelorette pad with no hubby or kids) and makes her sign something with a gun to her head… An opportunity missed? Yes, dear readers, I think so. There are many brave women going into combat these days and I’m sure they display skills that were so often denied Ms Blunt in this film. Plus we’ve all seen Breaking Bad and know that when you shoot the main drug guy you’ve effectively shot off the head of the beast which promptly grows two more! #wasteoftime!
There’s some stunning cinematography – I went with my cinematographer and he agreed. But then it was shot by Roger Deakens (James Bond, Shawshank Redemption, No Country For Old Men and all that, so hard to go wrong there) and the score is particularly evocative and suspenseful with a droning beat that rattles the solar plexus. It just would have been so nice to see the girl get the (cartel) guy. #kidding!
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Alexandra Boyd has been in the film industry for more than 30 years. She’s passionate about film and the roles women play in film – in front of and behind the camera. She spent ten years as an actress in Hollywood where her film credits include James Cameron’s Titanic, Mr Holland’s Opus and Luc Besson’s From Paris With Love. She returned to the UK, and after a stint on Coronation Street, packed it all in to become a screenwriter and film director. Her award winning short film, Boxer On The Wilderness, is a teaser for a feature about a 1920s Olympic boxer from Hackney Wick. She also raises funds and makes short films for GR8 AS U R, an anti-bullying organisation. Widow’s Walk, a supernatural thriller about a woman who lost her husband in Afghanistan, shooting in 2016, will be her debut feature. www.NewThirtyPictures.com www.alexandraboyd.co.uk.