Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt. This cast is so stacked with talent it should be criminal. Each character brought a completely different personality and they played so well off each other it was simple to lose yourself to the "reality" portrayed on screen. Emily Blunt has been in some entertaining action films lately but her performance here was an intense exploration of what defines right and wrong in a world like she's part of in this film. Josh Brolin plays the hardened, experienced, operative so well it's believable to see him lead a delta force team in the desert as they complete the tasks at hand. Benicio Del Toro in three words: cold, calculated, human. What a powerful performance, again, by Benicio. He delivers on a character so developed you can't take your eyes off his performance and the viewers just go with his actions, as questionable as some might be.
The film takes place, mostly, on the borders of the USA and Mexico. We meet FBI agents searching for hostages, Department of Defense operatives trying to stop a drug king pin, and some very experienced military personnel who know how to use modern technology and weapons to achieve their goals. Now, let's mix all these characters together on a common goal and we have a movie. The story starts off intense and builds from there. This movie is not shy when it comes to violence and does an exceptional job of balancing violence to tell the story as well as to help build suspense. At no time did the depictions of violence feel as though they used it just for the sake of using it. It was incredibly well done. There was a moment that raised a concern though because no film is flawless. Towards the end, director Denis Villenueve, made the decision to shoot the film from the angle of "first person shooter" which typically appears hokey. It surprisingly added to the suspense so kudos to the director for knowing how to tell his story in his own unique way so well.
If you have time, I recommend this film as a big screen theater viewing. The story is engaging, the actors deliver and the director brings a cinematic tale that is both suspenseful and entertaining. In fact, bring a date because the suspense is enough to warrant the arm rest go up for snuggles and theater cuddles. Two thumbs up, across the board(er).
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