Sicario ★★★★

FBI Agent Kate Macer is asked to volunteer to be part of a joint operation with the CIA to apprehend a Mexican drug lord. This being the CIA though, it isn't long before she starts to figure out that there's more to the operation that they're telling her.

What transpires is that she is there because her presence allows the CIA to operate withing US borders, basically the US authorities allow the CIA to do any damn thing they please anywhere else in the world but they won't tolerate that kind of shit on American territory, unless they have someone on hand to legitimise their actions.

Their stated aim in all of this is to be a disruptive influence, to shake things up and bring the top men of the cartels out in to the open, to cause chaos and that's exactly what they're doing when they travel just over the border into Juarez to pick up a member of the gang who is being extradited. It's a superbly tense sequence as we see the Americans travelling in convoy, gaining an armed escort from the Mexicans and travelling through the town accompanied by the sound of gunfire, although not in close proximity, and passing by the all too familiar sight of the hanging, mutilated corpses of those recently executed by the gangs before travelling out again and into the ambush which they are anticipating and which they brush off with a hail of bullets and a pile of corpses.

But of course there's more to it than they're being told and it involves Benicio del Toro former Columbian prosecutor who's only aim is revenge for the death of his wife and daughter, using and being used by the CIA.

In the end what becomes clear is that what the CIA want is not chaos at all, that's what they have now and that makes for a far worse situation than when the whole industry was controlled by a single cartel over which some measure of control could be gained. And of course the current situation is one of the American's making, their efforts to break the cartel resulted in fragmentation and war. At least with a single hand on the tiller the CIA would at least have a better handle on the situation, even if they couldn't really control it.

In a sense what they are looking to do is in some way, for want of a better word, legalise it. Banning alcohol in the States never worked so it was legalised again, if you can't control it then the pragmatic view must be to try and make some money out of it.

And perhaps that is a way forward, while something is illegal it's impossible to control, bringing it within the bounds of the law first of all makes it automatically less attractive to users, but brings in business which allows a degree of control. But I digress.

Although the film follows Macer she is effectively sidelined, the film using her in the same way that the CIA does, as a means to an end, to take us by the hand and lead us from something we can empathise with, the war on drugs within the States to the dark dealings of the CIA and the work of someone like Josh Brolin's character who travels around by private jet and has the confident swagger of someone who knows whatever room he's in, whatever he says goes.

You wonder whether they really want to settle down the shit storm they created int eh first place or whether all of this is really all about power. So long as there is chaos and the appearance of threat the CIA will maintain their funding and their power and that they don't care whether or not things are better or worse just so long as they continue to exist.

After all the CIA is referred to as The Company and much like the business version of a company it is an entity which exists not for the benefit of those who happen to work for it from time to time but simply for it's own ends, to survive and prosper well beyond the lives of who ever is running it now and likes to think they are in charge. It is a living thing and everything it does is simply to serve the purpose of ensuring that it continues to live, the cost to anyone or anything else is irrelevant.

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