Sicario 2: Soldado
The Heat is On
UReleased out now Director Stefano Sollima Distributor Lionsgate
S policy on border control and immigration has reached new depths of depravity in recent times, with ICE’s enforcement actions delivering a plethora of constantly shocking headlines worldwide. The second film in the Sicario franchise, written by Taylor Sheridan, focuses on the smuggling of human beings into the USA rather than drugs. It portrays the USA’s bull- headed, dirty tactics on foreign soil and at home with a brutal intensity that doesn’t shy away from the violence.
Director Stefano Sollima has form dealing with gangs of aggressive men. His previous feature, Suburra, dealt with the Italian mob, as did the TV series Gomorrah, which he had a hand in creating. The previous film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, placed a female FBI agent ( Emily Blunt) in the middle of a corrupt pair of allies – a CIA agent, played by Josh Brolin, and a lawyer turned gun- for- hire ( Benecio Del Toro). Blunt’s role served to continually question their shady behaviour, and yet in this film Sollima decides to drop the moral compass and her character in favour of the two men working together on a separate campaign of terror aimed against the Mexican cartels.
The film opens as a group of people are caught attempting to cross the border to the US. A lone man lets off an explosive device, and a series of suicide bombings in the USA plays out in quick succession. This gives the government free reign to declare the cartels terrorists and set in action a plan to kidnap the teenage daughter of a boss and use her to manipulate a war between them.
Though there’s hardly any nuance in the way the characters interact in this sequel, with Sheridan doubling down on absurd machismo dialogue, it does have a strong handle on its theme of dehumanisation. That one of its characters suddenly develops a conscience amid all the terrible deeds is less believable. With the final third completely swerving off course to squeeze in the possibility of another instalment in the franchise, all serious engagement is sadly compromised.