2015, Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) -- digital rental
This movie takes place in the same America-Mexico border crossing as the American version of The Bridge, Ciudad Juárez and El Paso. The plot & setting are a microscope on the current era of the Drug War, the one where Mexican drug lords kill their enemies in the hundreds, often dismembering corpses and hanging them for everyone to see. Emily Blunt is a doorkicker, a dedicated FBI agent working against the cartels in Arizona, but not really accomplishing much in the bigger picture. But her success drags her into the world of spook Josh Brolin. He has a goal and needs dedicated soldiers. He's not clear of what he needs her for, but it is going to be nefarious. Walking beside Brolin is Benicio Del Toro, an enforcer for the Columbia cartel(s). As the movie is called Sicario (assassin) you can easily guess what Benicio is and what Brolin's goal is.
We walk the plot of this movie beside Blunt, never seeing the full story of things but still tagging along to see where it goes. Oh, she has an idea that things are going to be nasty, from the introduction to the world during a border crossing to retrieve a cartel member from Mexican authorities, but she is not exactly sure how far Brolin will go. Everything is nail bitingly tense. In most of these movies, the characterization happens in the rushed parts between the action sequences, but in a Villeneuve movie the action sequences are that which glue the characters together. In the end, we are left standing dazed as a single scenario in this vast epic that is the Drug War has passed us by, leaving us wondering what was the point of it all and what kind of creature do we need to be, to see all of it.