Sicario is more than just an action-thriller about the brutal, pointless drug war in North America. Its graphic depictions and nihilistic tone flip a sizzling pan of heroin into your face over and over again, forcing you to confront the grim realities of wealth, power and addiction.
The cinematography is a treat and the bleak landscapes of the American desert and the gang riddled ghettos of Mexico are themselves a metaphor for the emptiness of the struggle our characters endure. Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and Emily Blunt all put in excellent performances and the script is clean and efficient, eschewing needless exposition in favor of short, smart dialogue that focuses on pushing the plot forward and not wasting time or insulting the intelligence of its audience. The ominous soundtrack and excellent pacing keep you on the edge of your seat as you move from one barbaric encounter to the next.
The ending is truly climactic and impactful, but it offers the audience a chance to meditate on the events and meaning of the piece before the credits role. It is a complete, coherent, well planned body of work that trusts the intelligence of its viewers, which makes it the rarest kind of film these days.