That Scene From ‘Sicario’ (2015)

“Hey, have you seen this movie? What did you think about THAT SCENE?!” We have all used that phrase at one point during our discussions of movies with the other person’s eyebrows raising, “Oh yea, THAT SCENE!” You go on to pick that memorable scene apart by listing what you loved or didn’t like, how it made you feel and the impression it left on you. 

In this series, we will do just that. We will take a scene from a movie and discuss its impact on us. Some of these scenes may be frightening, weird, iconic, controversial, hilarious and everything in between. Let us know your impression of the scene and the impact it left on you the first time you watched it down below in the comments. Enjoy!

 *Warning: May Contain Spoilers*

Movie: Sicario (2015)

Scene: Border Crossing


Director: Denis Villeneuve

Characters: Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), Steve Forsing (Jeffrey Donovan), Several Joint Task Forces Members (Various), Several Cartel Members (Various)


After leading a successful raid on an abandoned Mexican cartel safe house where dozens of decaying bodies were found, FBI Kate Macer is recommended for a Department of Justice and Department of Defense joint task force, overseen by Matt Graver and the secretive agent Alejandro Gillick. The point of the task force is to apprehend Sonora Cartel lieutenant Manuel Díaz. The tension begins to pick up as the team is briefed on the mission and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score swells as we reach Juarez. We are given a warning of violence as the convoy has to reroute because of shots fired in the distance. After they receive the prisoner, they are tailed by a state police officer who seems to be rogue, and when all seems well as we get back to the border, there is gridlock. We also remember that we have been told several times this is the possible place an attack would come. That brings us to our scene.



Holy sweaty tension balls, Batman? What is brilliant about what Villeneuve did here is the way he built the tension for a near 13 minutes from the moment they entered Juarez till now. Once their back up convoy leaves and they hit the border, the music drop and we get that eerie feeling like the calm before the storm. Then the red impala with several thugs is spotted and every movement becomes a necessity. When has the simple act of rolling down a window meant so much? But we wait longer because of the rules of the engagement as we everyone gets ready for action inside their vehicles. Someone finally makes a move and we are ready to explode from the tension. Then it happens. All in about 10 seconds. Essentially 30 minutes of snowballing tension all culminates this “WTF?!” explosion of a hand full shots fired with eight bad guys dead in a matter of seconds. No jumping or dodging. No chase scene to draw out the action. No, Villeneuve built this to a crescendo and the pay off was brilliantly done.

What I also loved about all this is how Emily Blunt’s character is set up as the POV for the viewer and after each moment of violence, the camera returns to her to see her (our) reaction to what’s going on. Even when she is looking around and catches the rogue border patrol agent in the side mirror like she almost missed it but comes back to it. Just excellent camera work and expertly done all around on Villeneuve’s and the actors part in this incredibly intense scene.

What do you think of this scene? Did you find the amount of action compared to the amount of tension helpful or hurtful to this scene?

Author: Vincent Kane

I hate things.