Author Topic: Sicario  (Read 5662 times)

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #50 on: February 22, 2016, 12:20:24 AM »
I don't agree that relativism in art leads to conversation about it being pointless. You say the conversation boils down to "I like it. I don't", but ideally it should be "I liked it because X and Y. I don't like it because A and B". Which can be interesting ! As this has been... to me. :P

I would agree but my point was that verbALs' stance was more like: I liked it because I am me. I don't like me because I am someone different. The two are irreconcilable. End of story. which is different.

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2016, 02:03:17 PM »
This film is dramatically inert. Blunt is good in her role but her character has no real arc or agency as a protagonist. It's all about robbing her agency throughout. Setting her up to have agency and a "purpose" then taking that away. Then the film reveals that her character has no purpose other than her to be there, which would be fine if she wasn't the protagonist and if this film had something else to do rather than taking the safest approach possible given the subject of the Cartel. If you have pessimstic feelings on American/Mexico border control problems, all this film does is reaffirm that nihilism tenfold. So "what's the point" is a good question.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2016, 07:56:28 PM »
Thanks Totoro. Your first two sentences echo my feelings rather well.
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verbALs

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2016, 12:24:59 AM »
The reveal about the CIA's plan seems like it would have been surprising 30 years ago
I feel apologetic that your first post here got passed by without comment given what followed and you were good enough to be complimentary even though I could see we didn't agree on the film (never a problem).

So I wanted to comment on what seems to me to be a larger point. That the insane actions of the CIA in this movie don't seem that surprising. Can you see that even though the comment is natural that implications of it are worrying? I suppose if you feel that if the CIA are fundamentally acting in ones interest, it may not even be a surprise or a problem but for a Canadian it might be very much a concern. The "nothing new" response that the film is provoking is similarly worrisome. The CIA place their man at the head of the cartel!....so what? Really, so a lot but it depends where you are viewing it from. So not to get into film minutiae but to give you an answer to that bigger picture. Thanks.
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Junior

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2016, 12:35:33 AM »
Worrying and surprising are two distinct concepts. In other words, it is possible to be unsurprised at a thing and still worried by it. This film seems to only care that you're surprised (the Blunt character goes from uninformed to informed, but she doesn't do anything about it), and so when I am not, it will not be effective in that end.
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verbALs

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2016, 01:18:54 AM »
Why would you be worried? The CIA don't operate within the United States. Ooh loves me some paranoia. Just like the 70s deja vu all over again.
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verbALs

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Re: Sicario
« Reply #56 on: July 03, 2016, 01:23:22 AM »
Sicario

"Is there anything I should know?"
"You're asking how a watch works. For now, just keep your eyes on the time".

The only piece of misdirection in the movie is in the interstitials. "Sicario" is described as a hitman. The first way, however, it is described is as a zealot who killed Romans who were invaders in the Middle East. Whilst, the feeling is that information is being denied; what actually happens is that anytime a question is asked it gets answered quite clearly. It's the context that leads to confusion. Obviously, an FBI officer will assume that jurisdiction of the law applies, when she is standing in the United States. I was going to describe it as an increasingly complacent attitude, as the film goes on. Yet, what else would she believe? Her confidence in the absolute primacy of her enforcement powers is entirely to be expected. So that detail, that she is dealing with hitmen in the sense of traditional policing, when she is actually dealing with fanatics, should not slip by so easily. Again, every assumption one would naturally make about the situation leads one to have faith beyond reason in the solidity of the law. Which reminds me of Cape Fear where one man tears and rends the fabric of normal society to get at a man and his family. Justice in its usual small town guise dissolves in front of his assault. Kate represents a walking, talking set of assumptions, which, in this case don't apply. It would most easily be expressed that she wouldn't be so sure, if she was transplanted magically to Iraq, would she? She wouldn't have so much of a problem with the tactics employed either. So whilst she sees order under threat, the zealots only see foreign invaders. Hence, the confusion.

It's fascinating that the US can, in some places, look like England, and in others, look like a jungle, and in others look like Egypt. This film is engrossed in the beauty of the desert, and it returns to stare at the landscape, for thematic reasons as well as cinematic ones. The desert doesn't stop at the border and it rolls on into the heart of America. Perhaps, an outside view that it seems to stab upwards, but the desert seems ancient and alien, from my perspective. Sand and dust implying time passing and settling like a weight, as if the green is buried under it. New housing developments are built over the desert, like another invasion. A crash of concrete and asphalt into the sun blasted brown. The modern and the ancient struggling together. How quickly that war sweeps away law. Thinking of the law as a recent affectation of society is uncomfortable, to the extent that it is unscionable.

When hitmen are referred to, the thought is brushed away. Kate says "I nearly screwed my hitman" and its explained that this isn't what was happening. Even misconceptions about the purpose of killers in this environment is clarified. The director understands that the message will leave people coming to incorrect conclusions, buried so deep in the viewer's psyche, even as he shakes that belief by showing us cops, who are beyond being corrupt and standing back to allow crime, but actual participants in trafficking and murder. Good family men. Both sides of the border. A film about crossing borders; showing high metal fences, but also showing that you can walk into Mexico. A comment on the laughability of building walls in that place? More a symbolic gesture. A metaphor for safety rather than real security. Migrants moving back and forward across this impenetrable barrier, as if on a day trip.

War is a very ancient form, which quickly rises to fanaticism. War becomes personal very fast. Civilisation breaks down even further. The law melts away. Kate represents an archetype. Alejandro saves her once, which makes it difficult to kill her when he needs to later. She needs killing. What appears ominous at the end, and a final personal humiliation for her, is really her last chance to save herself from the inevitable. Hard to watch her standing up for a principle, which has been destroyed so thoroughly. She looks into the face of a true zealot and trembles in fear. Rightly.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2016, 01:36:36 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

 

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