Newcomer Isabela Moner proves to be a revelation in Sicario: Day of the Soldado. She’s the key to the whole story, one where loyalties end up pressed, and the burning desire to do good invites the devil to supper.
Regardless of how ruthless Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) was in Sicario, he still has unfinished business with the cartels. Getting a home visit from America’s brightest Matt Graver (Josh Brolin, strong continuity from the first film) merely spurs the former into action.
Only sixteen years old, Isabella Moner projects the confidence and intelligence of someone much older. Even at times of extreme vulnerability, our eyes remain glued to what she does here.
Because Sicario felt handcrafted -- the figures carved out of day and night as light sculptures -- it was necessary to recruit a cameraman as good as Roger Deakins. Ultimately, director Stefano Sollima chose the highly popular Dariusz Wolski. The latter distinguished himself with The Crow, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and The Walk. Meanwhile, Sicario: Day of the Soldado required him to handle light in a realistic manner. Although one or two shots at the start seem murky, the main package contains many talismanic images which art collectors would be proud to own.
A poem to close:
The first Sicario was blessed by time
Yet the sequel carries through this rhyme.
Consistent in pace and tone
Few excuses to moan.
Terrorist bombings left a sting
Intelligent response took wing.
The plan was to capture
Placing blame, exerting pressure.
The most careful plan was flawed
Because steps were ignored.
What a fine film they made
All necessary dues were paid.
Acting impeccable across the line
Regarding newcomers, I took a shine.
Isabela Moner proved four dimensional and real
From me she earned reassuring seal.
Josh Brolin was tops
Benicio Del Toro had the chops.
They make a cool team
Repairing any broken seam.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated "R" for strong violence, bloody images and language.)