On one side, there are his feminine films. On the other, his thrillers. In Sicario, Denis Villeneuve combines his two favourite subjects and sends Emily Blunt to the Mexican frontier to join the ranks of an elite combat group led by Josh Brolin et Benicio Del Toro.
Still from Film © Richard Foreman
The actress of Wild Target and Looper plays Kate Macer, newly recruited to the FBI. On the ground, her job is to take down a powerful drug baron as part of a secret mission which leads her to lose one illusion after another....
Sicario takes a close look at the US Mexican border. More than a simple frontier line, the border is a zone riven by economic, political and diplomatic strife, perfect cinematographic terrain for Denis Villeneuve: "There is a lot of silence down there, connected with the violence generated by the drugs traffic, and a script came across my desk that dealt with that particular reality."
The film reveals the underside of operations on the ground. To the idealism that inspires US action, he opposes despair. "It's become a lawless, god-forsaken part of the world", explains the screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, best known for his work on the series Sons of Anarchy. During a long investigation on the spot, he went underground to gain the confidence of the local population and migrants, and ended up by understanding the challenges of the complicated subject of drug trafficking.
Can the evil ever be beaten? Does the end justify the means? In Sicario, there are no heroes and villains. "It's impossible here", says Taylor Sheridan. "You think you've taken out one of the bad guys, then you realise that the problem is no closer to being solved." The film doesn't pretend to provide a solution, but Denis Villeneuve is anxious pose the questions that torment the people who live on either side of the borderline.
Tuesday 19 May / Grand Théâtre Lumière / 8.30am - 3.30pm - 6.30pm