You could sort of say we’re on his jock and we wouldn’t argue much. This is because French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has been non-stop killing it in recent years and he’s the kind of filmmaker we love because he uses genre as a Trojan Horse to explore the heart and soul of mankind. He’s a thinking man’s filmmaker and it shows in his work. The searing drama “Incendies” earned him a Foreign Language Academy Award nomination, “Enemy” with Jake Gyllenhaal was a nightmarish existentialist thriller, and “Prisoners” with Gyllenhaal again and Hugh Jackman was a bruising crime procedural. Since then, everyone wants to work with Villeneuve cause they’ve also seen the work and noticed he’s the real deal.
He’s already bagged the coveted director’s chair for the “Blade Runner” sequel, and up next is “Story Of Your Life,” a sci-fi film about the nature of communication starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner which shoots this summer. But Villeneuve is working at a crazy fast clip and has already finished another film: “Sicario” (read our review). A crime thriller set alongside the Mexican/Texas border, the movie is about drug traffickers and a young FBI agent who teams up with an elite task force to go after the cartels. But once they cross the border they find a totally different and dangerous ball game. The movie stars Emily Blunt as the unlikely Texan law enforcer, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin as the men she works with, with Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Jeffrey Donovan and Maximiliano Hernández rounding out the cast.
So it’s a crime thriller on the surface, but like all of Villeneuve’s movies, that’s the delicious icing on top to draw you in; underneath the layers are a much darker story that reveals often unpleasant aspects of human nature. According to the film’s log-line the whole experience pushes Blunt’s characters’ “ethical and moral values to the limit.” “It’s a very dark film, a dark poem, quite violent,” Villeneuve said in a recent interview where he also described the picture as his best film to date.
And while Villeneuve was pressured by the studio to change the female lead’s gender to a man, he refused and stuck to his guns which is great, cause we’ve seen this story from a male perspective dozens of times. Additional bonus: two great collaborators from “Prisoners,” cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, are back working on “Sicario” too.
“Sicario” opens on September 18th in limited release before going wide on September 25th, which means it will likely receive a Toronto International Film Festival bow before its theatrical opening. Given Villeneuve is Canadian, you can pretty much guarantee it. Watch the first clip below—it’s part of a longer French broadcast from Cannes, but hit play and it’ll start at the right spot. [via Slashfilm]