Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro
Plot: An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
Running Time: 121 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 93% Audience 84%
Why I Watched it: The trailer looked good, it got rave reviews and the cast is good as well.
Thoughts: Director Denis Villeneuve is on roll, everyone of his movies seem to be loved by critics and he’s also doing very different films. Here’s another movie to prove my Josh Brolin rule, when he’s a secondary character the film is good when he’s the lead well let’s say not so much.
What I Liked: This is a very well directed and well shot film, actually all the tech stuff is great, editing, sound all top notch. I will also give the film a ton of credit for taking a well worn plot, the war against drugs and coming at it from a different angle. The film is intense and has this doom and gloom feel to it, we actually feel the sense of losing the war on drugs. The film is also a pretty good thriller and action film, the opening scenes is scary as crap and sets the tone. Also the boarding cross scene is text book on building suspense and tension.
The acting here is good but I want to single out not only the acting of Benicio Del Toro but also his character, this is a different dude, I don’t think we’ve seen someone like him in this kind of movie, and he really sets the tone of this film not being about white and wrong but the gray area of what you have to do to make a difference, it’s not about following or breaking rules it’s about doing what needs to be done.
Del Toro crushes this role cause he’s not trying to be a good or bad guy he just is and he does what he feels has to be done. Love the fact that his character is quiet a lot, he’s in the background. The stuff his character does is shocking cause we haven’t seen “Good Guys” do this type of thing but in another sense it fits who he is, I like he doesn’t say his backstory, we learn about it but for him I don’t think he needs to tell someone just so he could justify what he does. There’s a coldness and also a business like approach. Josh Brolin is also good, he gets to be cocky and glib and he does it well.
The other thing about this film is that it nails the fight and the battle and the fact that this film is so dark really clicks with the subject matter, this isn’t a balls out action film this has real stakes and shows how people become corrupted. Sometimes it isn’t who people are it’s what they do that seals their fate.
What I didn’t like: Won’t beat around the bush the only real problem with this film is Emily Blunt’s character, now I’m going to go on a rant and I’ll be clear I hated her character and the way it was written, as an actor Blunt is very good and I like her, she’s talented but the film is lucky everything else was so good cause that character was the turd in the punch bowl. The big factor with the character is if you take it out she not only wouldn’t be missed but would make the film better. Her character is so cliched it hurts the film, we get it, she’s the audience she’s our surrogate, but come on she’s been doing this for 4 years she’s this naive and also she’s one note, she says and does the same thing the whole time and it gets to the point you have no idea why the rest of the characters are putting up with her. Also she has no arc, and love the backstory for her she’s divorced and she smokes and drinks. The other real problem with the movie is almost every time she’s on screen the momentum stops dead, her scenes add nothing and look the most telling thing about her is that this character is not in the sequel. Blunt is a good actress if they did something with this character then I wouldn’t mind but she’s there to ask questions so we find out what’s going on. As a character she adds nothing.
Final Thoughts: I did like the film, it felt different and it had real intensity but I’m not joking about how much the Blunt character took me out of the movie she takes a film I would have given an 8 to and drops it to a 6.