“In 1971, French critics/scholars Jean-Luc Comolli & Jean Narboni (names surely familiar to the cinema studies crowd) proposed in their seminal ‘Cinema/Ideology/Criticism’ text that ‘every film is political, inasmuch as it is determined by the ideology which produces it.’ Their theory suggests that a film’s reality depiction is nothing but an expression of the prevailing ideology; the camera doesn’t register reality as something concrete, it captures the unthought-out, unformulated world of its creation. For Sicario: Day of the Soldado, this world is America’s most heinous, borderline-propagandistic realm of imperialism, an unchecked war machine churning unnamed and unknown bodies at the hands of an impossibly efficient military task force.
As a writer much better than me has said, “to note the political repugnancy of [Soldado] is to stick a licked finger in the air and note the wind chill.” It’s a film that drapes the American flag both around its shoulders and over its eyes as it drowns the US-Mexico border in bullet casings and fatalities without a glance in the rear-view. Picking up somewhere after the events of the original Sicario, we find Matt Graver (this year’s top-billed villain, Josh Brolin) and Alejandro Gillick (Benecio Del Toro) reunited by a series of events that exist to put them back within arm’s length of each other. A division of the US government needs a war started with their closest neighbours and Brolin is tasked with getting his hands… dirty. Introduce the kidnapping of a cartel leader’s daughter (Isabela Moner, doing the most for underrated blockbuster cinema the past 12 months) and voila, everything goes to shit” says Sam Harris.