Del Toro steals show in se­quel

The Galloway News - - THE TICKET -

The first Si­cario flick was such an ex­cep­tion­ally well made tour-de­force it was my pick for best film of 2015.

It also ended in de­fin­i­tive fash­ion which sug­gested a one-and-done story that left a bruis­ing, un­for­get­table last­ing im­pact.

But here we are, just three years later, fac­ing up to an­other tale of the re­lent­less drug war on the US-Mex­ico bor­der which this time sees the car­tels traf­fick­ing ter­ror­ists.

De­nis Vil­leneuve, who did such a phe­nom­e­nal job be­hind the camera on the first movie, is re­placed by Ital­ian direc­tor Ste­fano Sol­lima (TV’s Go­mor­rah).

It’s not all change, how­ever, as Tay­lor Sheri­dan once again scripts the ac­tion and Josh Brolin’s fed­eral agent Matt Graver and Beni­cio Del Toro’s gun-for-hire Ale­jan­dro are back in busi­ness.

There’s no re­turn for Emily Blunt, though, and one thing this fol­low-up lacks is the in­no­cence and au­di­ence-guid­ing pres­ence Blunt so ex­pertly sup­plied in its pre­de­ces­sor.

For­tu­nately it’s miss­ing lit­tle else as, while in­evitably com­ing up short when com­pared to the sem­i­nal orig­i­nal, Si­cario 2 is a se­quel that not only jus­ti­fies its ex­is­tence but works ex­tremely well in its own right.

Like the first film, we kick things off with a hy­per-tense se­quence that sets the taut tone, this time cen­tred around a sui­cide bomb­ing.

Any­one look­ing for laughs and fist-pump­ing mo­ments among murky morals and evil deeds would be bet­ter off go­ing to see Avengers: In­fin­ity War one more time as Si­cario 2 is tough view­ing.

Be­yond Is­abela Moner’s (Is­abel Reyes) in­no­cent vic­tim caught in the cross-fire, there are no re­deemable souls as ev­ery face-to-face dis­cus­sion or con­fronta­tion is drip­ping with sar­casm, anger, dread or a com­bi­na­tion of all three.

Given the se­ri­ous­ness of the life-or-death sub­ject mat­ter, though, Sheri­dan’s script is jus­ti­fied in its down­beat, re­lent­less ap­proach; this is re­al­is­tic – and essen­tial – modern sto­ry­telling.

Del Toro was ar­guably the best per­former in the first flick and he steals the show once again, while Sheri­dan thank­fully doesn’t flesh out the mys­tery of his char­ac­ter very much.

Sol­lima wisely takes cues from Vil­leneuve by en­sur­ing this se­quel looks im­pres­sive; he and cin­e­matog­ra­pher Dar­iusz Wol­ski utilise sun­light, dark­ness, sand and close-knit camera work to el­e­vate what is a rel­a­tively sim­ple story to new heights.

What is lack­ing, how­ever, is Jo­hann Jo­hanns­son’s mas­ter­ful score; Hil­dur Guð­nadót­tir’s mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ments don’t regis­ter the same pulserac­ing dread.

The cli­max also feels slightly jar­ring as, un­like its pre­de­ces­sor, the aim seems to be to set up an­other fol­low-up and turn this into a tril­ogy.

I doubt the orig­i­nal in­ten­tion of Si­cario would have even en­ter­tained the no­tion of se­quel-bait­ing.

Sharp­shooter Del Toro’s trou­bled Ale­jan­dro is back

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