Denis Villeneuve offered just a taste of what to expect for his latest in The Guardian on Friday. “Sicario,” slang for hitman, stars Emily Blunt as an FBI agent and Josh Brolin as the CIA official who lead the charge against a horrific drug lord on the streets of Juarez, just outside El Paso, Texas. Tasked with doing the deed is Benicio del Toro’s titular assassin.
Villeneuve said: “a very dark film, a dark poem, quite violent… It’s about the alienation of the cycles of violence, how at one point we are in those spirals of violence and ask ourselves, ‘Is there a solution?’ My movie raises the question; it doesn’t give any answer.”
It will be hard to avoid comparisons to Steven Soderbergh’s powerful “Traffic,” del Toro’s 2001 best supporting actor winner that also dwelled in the far-reaching runoff of the Mexican-American drug trade. Villeneuve said that while “The drug problem on the Mexican border, the violence there, has been explored in the past by great filmmakers… we shouldn’t stop. It’s important to talk about it, because it still exists … What’s happening there is really ugly.”
Villeneuve continued: “The movie is about America … how America fantasises that it can solve problems beyond its borders, and about the collateral damage that results … and the legality and moral issues around that … It’s a movie that deals with idealism and realism and the tension between both … It takes place on the Mexican border, but it could have just as easily have been set in Afghanistan or the Middle East or various countries in Africa. In North America, we allow ourselves to do things that other countries can’t afford to.”
“Sicario” was shot in Mexico for $32 million.
The busy director, who gets final cut and casting say, is in pre-production on the “Blade Runner” sequel possibly starring Ryan Gosling, and the huge sci-fi “Story of Your Life” starring Amy Adams. He has not had a film play in Cannes since 2009’s “Polytechnique.”