Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
war on illegal drugs
U.S. Mexico border problems
Criminals smuggling people illegally into the U.S.
pushing ethical and moral values to the limit
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
What are the effects of bloody and brutal movies
Are we living in a MORAL STONE AGE? Answer
How can I discern whether a particular activity is WRONG? Answer
What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Answer
What is GOODNESS? Answer
What is RIGHTEOUSNESS? Answer
Josh Brolin … Matt Graver
Benicio Del Toro … Alejandro Gillick
Catherine Keener …
Isabela Moner … Isabela Reyes
Matthew Modine … James Ridley
Jeffrey Donovan … Steve Forsing
Shea Whigham …
Christopher Heyerdahl … Headmaster Deats
Ian Bohen … Carson Wright
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo … Gallo
Jake Picking … Shawn
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|Producer:||Black Label Media
Rai Cinema [Italy]
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Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
“This is why nothing ever changed.”
Prequel: “Sicario” (2015)
“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is the sequel to the Denis Villeneuve directed “Sicario.” The film this time around is directed by Stefano Sollima with seasoned cinematographer Wolski in place of Roger Deakins, but still featuring Taylor Sheridan as its screenwriter. Benicio Del Toro (Alejandro Gillick) and Josh Brolin (Matt Graver) star in the film once again, but Emily Blunt does not make a return.
“Soldado” follows the efforts of CIA agent Matt Graver to stop the infiltration of Islamic terrorists into the United States through the Mexican border. The biggest commodity smuggled by the cartel into the US is now people rather than drugs. The president decides to expand the definition of terrorism to include drug cartels and allows Matt Graver the permission to get “dirty.” They decide the best way to weaken the cartel is by starting a cartel war. They kidnap Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner) the daughter of a kingpin in order to make it seem like an act of aggression by a rival gang. Tensions do in fact rise, but not in the way they expected. The movie then follows the repercussions of their actions.
Even in the absence of Villeneuve and Deakins, the film’s best qualities are often technical in nature. Sollima and Wolski deliver steady quality that can often be exceptional. Benicio Del Toro delivers perhaps an even better performance than in the first film, and Josh Brolin’s continuation of his portrayal of Matt Graver gives us a better understanding of his motivations behind the façade of protecting the U.S.
Taylor Sheridan’s script is perhaps the most uneasy thing about the film. It is more complex, yet less focused than the script he provided for “Sicario.” The film often drags on for much longer than it should—not for the sake of tension, but rather because the pacing is genuinely off at times. However, the script does have a lot of serious topics, like illegal immigration, drugs, and violence to juggle, and it perhaps does it as best as it could without being too predictable.
The film deals with the consequences crime has on innocence, as symbolized by the children hurt throughout the film. It is incredibly heart-wrenching to see, and it is a reminder that our actions have consequences on other people. That our brokenness can be far reaching. The importance that children have in this world cannot be understated.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” –Proverbs 22:6
The film features a young man who is steered in the wrong direction by his cousin into a life of crime. It is often the case that family itself can give the wrong example. It reminds me of King David’s sons, and how their sinful life was brought about as a consequence of their father’s sins. Children, when pointed in the right direction, are a hope for tomorrow and heritage given by God. They have a special place in His heart.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” —Psalms 127:3-4
The scenes in which innocent people pay the price of the actions of others reminds me of Jesus Christ himself. When watching the film, one cannot help but wince at the realistic portrayal of corruption and violence on display, especially toward the innocent. How can people do such a thing to innocent people? I remembered that I have done something similar. My sins were paid for by someone else. My actions became scars on his body. Jesus Christ is the ultimate sacrifice. The difference between my actions and the remorseless actions portrayed on the screen are repentance—the decision to turn from your wrongful doings and follow Christ. Christ in return offers forgiveness and a new life.
This is the hope Christ offers.
Matt Graver states “this is why nothing ever changed” when the U.S. government expresses reluctance in getting “dirty.” Graver suggests that the only way things can get better is by sometimes doing worse things first. The movie does an excellent job of portraying those actions as incorrect. However, it does not ultimately suggest an answer to the problems it portrays. It just condemns wrongful actions on the part of government.
It reminded me that Christ is the only thing that can make things change from the heart. He is the only One who can make things new. We often look to our government to fix problems that originate from the brokenness of the heart. As Christians, we have the responsibility to share the hope that we have, and to be the light of the world. It is often easy for us to look from the outside and point to the world in disgust and disbelief, without remembering that we are called to minister to that brokenness.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” –Matthew 5:14-15
We are not just bystanders passing along a broken world yearning for the day to see our Lord, we are also called to action to share the light and hope Christ has to offer. Like someone did with us one day.
If you would like to know more about Christ and the salvation he offers click here.
Violence: Very Heavy. There is plenty of gun fighting and blood along with it. There are four moments in which the violence is particularly disturbing. ***MINOR SPOILERS*** In the beginning a mom and her daughter are blown up by a suicide bomber. In another scene a young man is pressured into shooting a character and when he refuses he is shot himself. Shortly after, another young man does end up shooting the character, and there is a pool of blood that forms around him. The U.S. operatives kill a group of young men who are being groomed to be gang members in the back of a truck. ***END SPOILERS***
Language/Profanity: Very Heavy. The f-word is used heavily throughout. It is also worthy to note for my fellow Spanish-speaking readers that there is plenty of foul language in Spanish. Often times it is stronger than the ones in English.
Alcohol/Drugs: Moderate. Characters are shown smoking or drinking throughout.
Sex/Nudity: Minor. Apart from occasional cleavage, there is not much here to be concerned about.
Occult: Minor. Apart from the movie poster that is a reference to the Day of the Dead, there are no occult themes in the film.
“Day of the Soldado” carries the weight of the first film’s quality and mostly delivers on expectations of quality. Featuring solid work in front and behind the camera. Although Sheridan’s script may be too self-aware and sometimes feels uneasy as a result.
The film features realistic portrayal of notorious cartel violence, and this is the film’s greatest concern. The film does not really attempt to be entertaining. Rather, it exposes problems and portrays the emptiness in a life of crime. However, it is possible for Christians to understand the severity of sin without a film. As always, prayer and spiritual discernment is recommended as you decide what is spiritually conducive to growth in your walk with God.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.