‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ is brutally honest look at the U.S. war on drugs

Ty Davis

 ‘Sicario’ is a movie franchise concerning the organized crime that involves the U.S.-Mexican border, the United States could not look any less like a force for good. 

‘Sicario’ is not concerned with storytelling conventions of heroics or morality. Instead, these films choose to focus on honesty, brutality and all. 


Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan and Director Stefano Sollima masterfully reproduce a world where political matters don’t involve heroes or any real sense moral justice, only powers trying to conquer the other by using any violent means necessary. 

The film begins with a bombing in a Kansas City supermarket, killing 15 people. The U.S. government determines the Yemeni terrorists came to the United States by taking a ship to Mexico and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Considering this, the Mexican cartels are now labeled as terrorist organizations, which will allow for an expansion in operations to combat them.

Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is appointed to lead an off-the-books mission to start a conflict between the two largest cartels in Mexico, where he contracts  Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) to aid him.

All the actors bring their best. Brolin perfectly captures the despicable Graver, Del Toro is impeccable as the unscrupulous yet steadfast Alejandro, and special mention has to be given to Isabela Moner as Isabel Reyes. Though a limited role, she’s very believable and competently distinguishes herself against seasoned actors.

Sicario does not stop, it is a freight train of thrills, constantly barreling down the tracks.

‘Sicario’ is one of the most brutal commentaries on American foreign conduct in recent years. These characters will go to any lengths to achieve their goals, which makes for a movie full of unexpected moments. Everyone in these movies are depraved to the highest degrees. Graver exemplifies America’s use of ruthless lack of integrity to attain a false idea of security.

After a certain point, the audience ceases to wonder what he will do, and simply ask why is he doing what he does at all. Because Graver is so myopic, he cares about nothing else except the goal he swore to reach, not thinking to question it along the way.

‘Sicario’ does an amazing job at keeping you addicted to watching it. Every moment grips your attention to make you question just what exactly the filmmakers going to show you next. Not only is the film brutal in it’s subject matter, but also relentless in it’s efficiency. The plot may seem meandering to some, but it is how ‘Sicario: Day of The Soldado’ uses it’s time that makes the difference. Sicario does not stop, it is a freight train constantly barreling down the tracks.

Every moment, even the quiet ones, are used to it’s fullest potential. Whether that be an explosive set piece, a moment of dramatic tension, or revealing a crucial character detail, the film takes every advantage it can to keep the plot moving forward.

Ty Davis can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or @tydavisACW