For the first time in months I’m feeling a profound kinship with Variety‘s Kris Tapley, who’s blocked me on Twitter and is always scowling and avoiding eye contact at press gatherings. I’m saying this because Tapley shares my admiration for Stefano Sollima and Taylor Sheridan‘s Sicario: Day of the Soldado (Columbia, 6.29). He recently spoke with costars Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro.
“Movie’s great,” Tapley says to Del Toro as they begin. “Might be better than last time…I love it.” Del Toro’s Alejando Gillick character was cold and hollowed out and vengeance-driven in Sicario, Del Toro explains, but in Soldado he experiences “an awakening of a conscience [that] brings humanity back to the character.”
The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw: “This movie is just so piercingly disturbing and riveting. There is something of Kathryn Bigelow in the night-vision scenes, Michael Mann in the large-calibre weaponry and high-speed convoys, and something also of the Coens’ No Country for Old Men, which like this film stars Josh Brolin. And as a grandiose, episodic story of evil, it has something of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. It is a violent action noir, rocket-fuelled with its own reckless cynicism.”
The Telegraph‘s Robbie Colin: “Quite honestly, it’s a thrill to see a mid-budget thriller crafted along such mature, unflashy lines — not least one with a right-leaning political bent, which hasn’t lately been much of a signal of aesthetic finesse, give or take the odd American Sniper or Hacksaw Ridge. Both Brolin and Del Toro play classic right-wing heroes — they’re grizzled predators whose hunting ranges uneasily intersect, each prepared to make snap judgements that run against their orders, providing it’s for the best as they see it.
“The twin themes of border security and a child forcibly separated from her parents give Sicario 2 an unexpected tang of topicality – and early on, the (unseen) American President makes the Trumpian move of reclassifying the cartels as terrorist organisations in order to open up more brutal forms of recourse.
“A plot that at first looks like a simple, gung-ho, in-and-out job soon takes on the more complex rise and fall of a miniseries, and ends in a way that teases more stories to come, even while signing off the one at hand with a satisfying snap.”