Denis Villeneuve’s war-on-drugs epic, Sicario, was one 2015’s most refreshing hits, a bloody crime thriller lathered in grit and tension. As such, it’s a pleasure to see that its sequel, Soldado (Spanish for ‘soldier’), was recently given a confirmed release date of 29th June 2018. This is around a month after the Cannes Film Festival, where Sicario received its world premier in 2015, but it’s currently unclear whether this new instalment will receive a similar treatment before going on to a wide release.
Both Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro will be reprising their roles as shadowy government agents, while man-of-the-moment Taylor Sheridan has returned to pen the script. Of course, much of the original film’s success was undoubtedly down to Villeneuve’s peerless direction, so it’s a shame not to see him involved in the sequel, but this is apparently due to scheduling conflicts.
Taking the reins instead is Stefano Sollima, an Italian filmmaker well versed in television crime serials and with two feature-length credits to his name; 2012’s A.C.A.B and 2015’s Suburra. Villeneuve’s regular collaborators, cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, are also absent, with their shoes being filled by Dariusz Wolski and Hildur Guðnadóttir respectively.
Emily Blunt, whose central performance provided the emotional core of Sicario, is likewise missing from the line-up. Despite rumours last year that she would return, Sheridan told The Wrap that her part had been written out of the sequel because “her arc was complete”. According to Collider, the film will instead focus on Del Toro and Brolin’s characters operating outside of the United States, without the constraining influence of Blunt’s by-the-books chaperone. If that means what we think it means, then prepare for copious misery and extra-judicial murder within the heart of Mexico’s cartel land.
Perplexingly, it also transpires that calling Soldado a “sequel” might not be strictly accurate. Producer Basil Iwanyk told Collider that the film’s chronological relationship to the original will not be made explicit, stating “You have no idea if it’s before or after… There is no reference at all to the first Sicario.” So, perhaps a sequel in the spiritual sense rather than the literal.
Sicario seemed like an unlikely film to receive any sort of sequel in the first place, so we’re not going to split hairs. The absence of Villeneuve et al is admittedly disappointing, but a script by Sheridan and the presence of Del Toro and Brolin place this firmly within “one to watch” territory.
Published 14 Aug 2017
By Vadim Rizov
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