Author Topic: Sicario  (Read 5652 times)

philip918

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2016, 11:00:12 AM »
I actually think it works better as an action/thriller than anything else. Josh Brolin's character is basically a shaved ape and Del Toro's is nothing but yet another psychopath, and Villeneuve sends completely mixed messages about them, from the choice to change perspectives to that ending, which end up making me appreciate the film for its setpieces and Blunt's performance, but not much more.

This pretty much sums it up for me. Minus not thinking much of Blunt's performance. Well, a decent performance in a character I found tedious.

I think what didn't quite jive for me was the based-on-real-life gravity of the situation (dozens of corpses in walls, bodies hanging from bridges), and a tone to match, that turns into an almost 80's action flick in the final act - a vigilante seeking revenge for his murdered family against an evil drug lord.

I think watching Cartel Land not long before this film really informed my viewing. That covered such similar territory but with some tremendous insight that made Sicario feel a bit shallow.

...it is made clear early on they plan to "dramatically overreact" (film line of the year).

Agree. Great line.

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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2016, 09:08:18 PM »
You mentioned two versions of what you think would be better. One not involving Blunt at all.

I didn't say I wanted to watch those versions. I said they were possible versions that could have existed instead.
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Re: Sicario
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2016, 11:45:52 PM »
Here's my problem with Sicario: are we supposed to be shocked at the state of the US Drug War? Is it supposed to be some kind of paradigm shift now that we've seen the the way these people act on our behalf? Because I'm not surprised, I'm not shocked. I don't think this is anything new. What's there is cool, often, but the last scene means nothing to me, and there's an emptiness at this film's core which reminds me of The Revenant. As you might remember, that's not a good think for me to be reminded of.
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verbALs

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2016, 04:00:56 AM »
You mentioned two versions of what you think would be better. One not involving Blunt at all.

I didn't say I wanted to watch those versions. I said they were possible versions that could have existed instead.

And then I explained why Blunt is such an intrinsic part of the film, but you haven't referred to what I wrote. Fair enough.

I said;
Quote
After a lot of films I stopped wishing the film had been what I wanted and got more out of following what the director seemed to be interested in. My perspective is nowhere near as compelling as that of someone who has reached the heights of making movies. So I stowed it. I'm just as likely to reach the end of a film and go "meh" but I move on. Sicario and Enemy are really good examples of this. There's so much more in the tone than the plot.
Now in this case I might have been cued up for Sicario by watching Enemy. This is an interesting general point given I have railed against auteur theory, because that's what I'm describing here...one film informs another, and the body of work is larger than the individual films. This is a perfectly reasonable point so much so that it simply looks like common sense- which a theory does not it make. In Villeneuve's case what he does in Enemy means that what he does in Sicario is hardly surprising. Don't go and watch Enemy because you weren't interested in Sicario. It works both ways.

Can you view Sicario as more a tone poem than an action film? Who needs an action film about the drug trade. What the glowering presence of Juarez means to El Paso and the US beyond, like an infectious source of evil, that metaphysical threat. Now that's interesting. Deakins manages this effect all on his own with one long shot. But you weren't seeing what I saw. And my opinion is entirely my own, informed by every other factual or fictional thing I have read on the subject. My opinion cannot possibly be the same as yours. We've read and seen different works on the subject. When I saw that shot, it reengaged all sorts of memories from all sorts of sources; like imagery will do. So if your head contains a different set of source material your reaction would be different. The border evil of James Crumley books. If you haven't read them you wouldn't engage those thoughts. We've both seen No Country for Old Men and this is Deakins back on the same ground with a different director. See what I mean though? The old imagery comes blasting back.


Here's my problem with Sicario: are we supposed to be shocked at the state of the US Drug War? Is it supposed to be some kind of paradigm shift now that we've seen the the way these people act on our behalf? Because I'm not surprised, I'm not shocked. I don't think this is anything new.

It isn't only about the drug trade, its about US military policy but that's just my view. None of these are facts just opinions. The movie about the ineffectiveness of the FBI in tackling the drug trade is very interesting when viewed from the perspective of the CIA who treat the FBI as nothing more than a convenient badge to flash. How the CIA exercise their power outside the borders of the US is extremely interesting. Its not a documentary so the impetus to say something new isn't on any film especially a work of fiction. I'll cover that butits only an opinion anyway. But it isn't all the movie is about. There is also a lot of interest in how Blunt as a woman, and Blunt as an action star, as a persona, is treated. Its tangential which makes it a fascinating dimension that the film only starts to refer to directly towards the end. SHE isn't sidelined. THE FBI OFFICER that she is, is sidelined, but she's a woman who can be physical overpowered and the film doesn't leave this aspect unobserved. Nice rounding. But I've said all this without much direct rebuttal.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 04:29:00 AM by verbALs »
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Re: Sicario
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 10:54:02 AM »
Here's my problem with Sicario: are we supposed to be shocked at the state of the US Drug War? Is it supposed to be some kind of paradigm shift now that we've seen the the way these people act on our behalf? Because I'm not surprised, I'm not shocked. I don't think this is anything new.

It isn't only about the drug trade, its about US military policy but that's just my view. None of these are facts just opinions. The movie about the ineffectiveness of the FBI in tackling the drug trade is very interesting when viewed from the perspective of the CIA who treat the FBI as nothing more than a convenient badge to flash. How the CIA exercise their power outside the borders of the US is extremely interesting. Its not a documentary so the impetus to say something new isn't on any film especially a work of fiction. I'll cover that butits only an opinion anyway. But it isn't all the movie is about. There is also a lot of interest in how Blunt as a woman, and Blunt as an action star, as a persona, is treated. Its tangential which makes it a fascinating dimension that the film only starts to refer to directly towards the end. SHE isn't sidelined. THE FBI OFFICER that she is, is sidelined, but she's a woman who can be physical overpowered and the film doesn't leave this aspect unobserved. Nice rounding. But I've said all this without much direct rebuttal.

I'd say the only impetus on a work of art is to say something new. To express a new way of looking at the world, or express an old way differently. I actually like a lot of what you call out here, but they're on the fringes of the movie for me. It's not about any of these things. If it had been, I'd be more into it. Instead, the point seems to be that there's evil in this world and it takes a dramatic overreaction to counter them. Oh, and when you wipe one bad man out, there's another to take his place. Oh, and playing by the rules doesn't achieve anything, but then again neither does not playing by the rules, as demonstrated in my previous sentence. So what? It sounds like a hodgepodge of cliche and trite observations because it is. Nestled within all that BS is some interesting stuff, but it's not the film's focus, so I can't say that it makes up for a big hole in the center of the movie.
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verbALs

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2016, 12:53:11 PM »
Why don't you think the way the CIA use an FBI officer is of no interest? Why don't you think the CIA operations in a foreign country have any resonance or importance in the larger context of world affairs and how America projects power abroad? Where has it been said before and in this way? Can you name the sources that Sicario copies that make it redundant and unoriginal? Do you think Deakins is doing nothing interesting in this film? Did you see Enemy? If you did how does it resonate with Sicario for you? When you say "so what?" why don't you think any of this has relevance or is important? In the world of sensitivity over female roles especially in male dominated worlds on film, how is Blunt's role not interesting?

Too many questions admittedly but I'm curious.

Perhaps this is all a bit unfair, because, really, like I said to DH, it's understandable not to think the film is about these things when you aren't interested in the film. If anyone wants to say they are interested 100% in every film they watch or prepared to be 100% engaged if the film annoys them, I'd probably not be able to...take that completely on faith. So naturally it affects one's view of a film if it doesn't keep them on board. I find this a lot more interesting subject to explore; how we process films than going back and forth about any one film for too long.

But please have the final word.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 01:08:48 PM by verbALs »
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Junior

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2016, 01:11:30 PM »
I don't see the difference between the CIA and the FBI as a very interesting subject, at least not on its own, and DV doesn't do anything to make it all that interesting. The idea that operations are single-minded in their desire to, well, operate is again not new or exciting. And yeah, I already know that the way that America projects its power across the world is pretty CINECAST!ed up. I hear it loud and clear. I can't name specific sources for specific ideas, but I think things like Zero Dark Thirty and Traffic and City of God and even No Country for Old Men have more interesting things to say about drugs or the way America acts in the name of its causes. Deakins is a master, obviously, and his work alongside Blunt's role made the movie interesting while I was watching it (though I think Blunt was better in Edge of Tomorrow in a somewhat similar role). Benicio del Toro is absolutely astounding in the film. What I'm saying when I say "so what" is that I'm unconvinced of the importance of the film. It hasn't done enough to justify its existence beyond being a pretty good action film. But a movie that's just focused on being an action movie wouldn't have that last scene. So I know it's trying for more, it just doesn't reach it.

I've seen only Prisoners prior to Sicario. Like that one even less than I liked this one. I'm optimistic about Blade Runner 2, though, especially with Deakins on board.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2016, 08:49:29 PM »
Of course we all deal with whatever new thing we come across with the perspective made possible by what we've already encountered, but I think we all agree that this forum exists because we believe in an area of common ground where we can debate and share ideas without throwing our hands in the air and abandoning all pretense of discussion in the name of subjectivity and relativism. And I would not pretend I go into every movie 100% engaged, but that level of engagement also depends on the movie itself. Whatever my initial frame of mind, I am much more likely to lower my level of attention if I do not feel the material is compelling in some way, and that is the movie's responsibility, not mine.

Now, I am not sure that I would say that a movie or any piece of art has any sort of obligation, as Junior does. I do not require something new in all cases but I do require something that grabs me - be it of a comedic, intellectual, aesthetic nature or other. You mention a lot of things the movie touches on the drug war but I found their treatment to be underwhelming. Sure, the subjects themselves are big stuff, but that matters little if no substance is attached to them. Insofar as the movie can be said to have messages, and if you consider that those messages are a quintessential part of the movie and of the enjoyment of it, I did not find they justified the existence of the movie.
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verbALs

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2016, 12:48:26 AM »
Now, I am not sure that I would say that a movie or any piece of art has any sort of obligation, as Junior does.
No neither would I.

Whatever my initial frame of mind, I am much more likely to lower my level of attention if I do not feel the material is compelling in some way, and that is the movie's responsibility, not mine.

I appreciate you staying in this conversation because this is where the interest lies for me.

If someone makes you angry or irritated is it their fault? Or is it your fault for letting them anger or irritate you?

Same with a film. Are you in control of your feelings? It's a good idea to be in control, because the alternative is that somebody else is. That's the logical conclusion isn't it? Go around blaming others for how you feel. Or accept the responsibility for your feelings. I understand because I'm the typical imperfect being who struggles with that myself. That doesn't mean I don't know fundamentally that unless I take responsibility then all I will do is blame something or someone else for anything that happens. Then where will I be? I can't learn from what's happened to me because it wasn't my fault What's the point of learning anything because it wasn't my mistake and it could happen again the same way next time because someone else is doing it to me. Put in that light, how weak does that sound?

The film is responsible for not keeping your interest? Or was it your phone ringing? Or was it you getting distracted because you didn't turn your phone off before the film began. I hope that is clear. I know how hard it is to think in these terms, but I have started doing that. So when someone says it's "the film's responsibility" it looks like an alarming statement. Or when someone says "you make me angry" it looks like they are admitting the other person is some sort of puppetmaster. Their anger is secondary to something else. If they had a clear answer that satisfied them to some question they wouldn't be annoyed would they? If they were on top form, like all of us, on those good days, nothing bothers them. So it's not the other persons fault they get angry, how could it be, and why would they want to admit other people 6,000 miles away can do that to them? We all choose whether to get annoyed or happy.

So we go to movies to be moved emotionally. So the natural next step is to blame the film when we aren't moved emotionally? The opportunity to examine why it lost your interest is there if you want to take it, but you blame the film instead? Why did you go to the film in the first place? Probably because you thought it would move you emotionally i.e. you CAN be moved emotionally. And then when it did but in a negative direction instead, you forget why you went to see it just because it was a bad reaction instead of a good one. So what's the film doing all the time you are blaming or praising it? Nothing different. It wasn't made specifically for you or do you believe that. It just came off wrong with you or your phone rang (the film didn't leave your phone on) or you had an argument with someone before the film and you can't stop thinking about it (the film didn't have that argument) or a billion other things that distract none of which have anything to do with the movie. Yet YOU lost interest, the film would have run exactly the same whether you paid attention or didn't. YOU changed, nothing to do with the film. There are a lot of the interesting things that can be said looking at it this way. If we all saw the same film the same way; the common ground, then we would all write the same thing about the same movie. The interest is in YOUR reaction. Assuming the opposite would naturally lead to samey wamey reviews.

This is a very complex difficult thing to get one's head around but I thought I should explain why, when you say its the film's fault my response is "no it isn't, it's yours". Some people have gone out and killed people after watching films. When they said the film made them do it....do you believe them or laugh at how crazy that sounds?

As an exercise we could all take note of everything that distracts us when we see a certain film. We all watch the same film and then compare what things happened that made us lose interest. Chances are someone will say, yes the same thing happened to me but the film was so interesting it didn't distract me. Different people, different reaction, same film.Birdman started that way. I was all sorts of distracted, not even awake properly, and it dragged me in. My interest grew. A lot of reviews said the opposite. Same film.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 01:05:41 AM by verbALs »
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Junior

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2016, 01:09:19 AM »
Doesn't this idea preclude the existence of bad films? There are no bad movies, only bad viewers? It seems you're calling for us to prostrate ourselves at the altar of film, I say how about a movie meets us half way. I lean towards the death of the author, but I don't lean as far as the death of the film.
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