“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.
Read more on Catalyst for the full review of Sicario: Day of the Soldado