Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, and Jon Bernthal

There are lots of great movies out there, but there are few that I would characterize as beasts.  There's a certain raw energy that marks these kinds of movies that's unmistakable.  The Wolf of Wall Street had a beast-like ferocity.  Whiplash raged.  Mad Max: Fury Road roared into theaters earlier this summer.  These are the kinds of great movies we don't get every day.  This fall, however, we may yet again have another on our hands.  Denis Villeneuve's latest feature Sicario is one hell of a wild ride that takes us to familiar territory in a fresh and inventive manner.  This beast of a movie has rolled into theaters and must not go unnoticed.

FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) leads a SWAT team in Phoenix to arrest and assault highly dangerous criminals.  Raiding what is believed to be a drug house, Macer and her team find more blood than powder.  The house is a storage unit for 42 cadavers wrapped in plastic and stuffed inside the walls — presumably victims of one of the world's largest drug cartels.  It's too much for Macer, her colleague Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya), and her team to handle.  Macer wants nothing more than to find the people responsible for this horrific atrocity.  When State Department liaison Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) walks into her office, opportunity knocks.

Graver is interested in forming an inter-agency task force to lead a group down to El Paso, Texas to go after drug bigwig Manuel Diaz (Bernardo P. Saracino) and whomever his boss is in Mexico.  Hungry for justice, Macer joins this operation with little thought.  Graver is supposedly offering a valuable learning experience.  Macer has no idea how tough this lesson will be and soon finds herself in the midst of a drug war.  At the center of this war, Macer finds Graver and his mysterious colleague Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro).  In this land of wolves, all roads lead to the Mexican city of Juarez.

Boldly envisioned and thunderously executed, Sicario is yet another great film from director Denis Villeneuve.  Without a shadow of doubt, this dark crime thriller puts me in the mindset of Zero Dark Thirty but themed around the drug war.  You can see it in the vibrant yet gorgeous cinematography.  You can hear it in the impressive sound mixing that brings every gunshot and explosion to the forefront of our minds.  You can feel it as brutality unfolds on the screen time and time again.  As this visceral film progresses, Villeneuve employs these and many other cinematic devices to build one violent world full of mystery and suspense.  All in all, Sicario is an excellent film perfect for any lover of a great action thriller.

has something we rarely see on the big screen anymore, a terrific narrative.  Much like Villeneuve's Prisoners, the story is winding and full of surprises.  Unpredictable from start to finish, the film offers a rather novel take on the drug war we've seen again and again.  More war than crime and more spy than gang, the tale told in Sicario doesn't quite fit the bill of your typical action thriller on drug cartels, and I absolutely love this.

The cast is firing on all cylinders.  For her part as our lead Kate Macer, Emily Blunt continues her foray into tougher, edgier roles and once again delivers.  Though the Edge of Tomorrow star is the moral compass of the film, she gives us a principled character grounded in her core beliefs.  As she works with people who put results before their beliefs, this certainly fuels plenty of heated exchanges on screen with her co-stars.  For his part, Josh Brolin gives us exactly the guy you'd expect as Matt Graver.  Elusive yet blunt, Brolin gives us a character who talks plenty of trash while blurring the lines between right and wrong.  Last but not least, we have Benicio del Toro as Alejandro Gillick.  Shrouded in mystery and yet clearly a badass with a bloody history, del Toro quickly stands out as the one to watch with a hidden agenda.  He easily offers the most intriguing performance of the movie

I've got nothing but love for Sicario.  This is the first truly great movie of the fall movie season.  With Denis Villeneuve and his cast at the top of their game, the film simply doesn't disappoint.  Sicario gets a sober rating.  Don't miss this one.