Deleted Scenes: On Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Benicio Del Toro;Isabela MonerSpoiler for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which is the Denis Villeneuve/Roger Deakins/Emily Blunt/Daniel Kaluuya-free sequel to the very good 2015 drug war thriller Sicario. Late in the movie, Josh Brolin, reprising his role as a C.I.A. black-ops guy from the first movie, is ordered to kill a 16-year-old girl—an unarmed noncombatant who is the daughter of a drug kingpin but not a criminal herself. There’s more to it than that, but that’s all I’ll say just in case you feel compelled to see the film, which I do not endorse.

Anyway, I talked about that scene in my review, which went into production in November 2016, the same month we elected a president who said on TV during the campaign that if you want to stop terrorists, “you have to go after their families.” Given that Day of the Soldado opens with a scenario wherein Muslim suicide bombers are believed to have snuck into the United States across the Mexican border (though they’re later revealed to have been American citizens from New Jersey), I believe this plot element was directly inspired by the current president’s campaign rhetoric

So I said that Soldado might “make you nostalgic for the more recent time when wondering whether an American soldier (or intelligence operative) would refuse a direct order to shoot an unarmed, noncombatant child in the head was a purely hypothetical exercise.” That passage was cut from the review, ostensibly because it was too political. In my view, it was a fair observation to make about a film that has a clearly articulated political bent, albeit a more nuanced and humane one than anything we’ve heard the current president say on the topics of immigration or crime or drugs.

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