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Director: Stefano Sollima Starring: Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabel Moner, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener Running Time: 122 minutes


It can’t hurt a film to have a little ambiguity from time to time. Three years ago, the uncompromising crime-thriller Sicario took us to the darkest corners of the greyest areas of the US-Mexican border, a place where Mexican cartels and the US government could compete to get up to the shadiest shit. It was an intense film with a considerable combination of talent: Denis Villeneuve combining to great effect with Roger Deakins to put the suffocating effect of the crime scene on screen, a great score by the gone-too-soon Jóhann Jóhannsson and a script by Taylor Sheridan that was seemingly very thoughtfully assembled; like an Apocalypse Now for America’s drug war. On screen, the talents of Emily Blunt dragged viewers down with her own sinking feelings, an FBI agent turned bystander to the morally ambivalent machinations of the Department of Justice, embodied by the casual hoo-ra “consultant” Matt Graver played by Josh Brolin and the mysterious, violent sicario Alejandro Gillick, played by Benicio Del Toro. They were up to something, it was no good, and there was noting Blunt could do about.

Something suspicious happened towards the end of Sicario though. A balance shift, a feeling that the film was becoming a bit too enamoured of its hitman for its own good. If Matt and Alejandro come out on top at the end, does that make it a downer ending or a triumph? Who is the main character of the film again? Emily Blunt’s conspicuous absence from the sequel Soldado might tell its own story. The boys are back in town. Sicario is not sending us it’s best people. In a fraught political environment, this sequel feels even less wanted, depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

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Director: Rian Johnson Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Benicio Del Toro Running Time: 152 minutes


One thing that should probably be acknowledged about Star Wars before launching into a review of the latest entry to the series is that its cultural footprint is simply too big for anything approaching a consensus to form. Every Star Wars film since the original faced heavy backlash after their initial release. Some were also widely acclaimed at the same time. Some grew their reputation over the years. And some were the prequels. A film that aims to be seen by so many simply cannot please everyone all of the time, even if it tried, but despite the pressure of having to deliver to such a dedicated fanbase and such keenly invested taskmasters at Disney, director Rian Johnson boldly declares never to tell him the odds and instead has made The Last Jedi into the kind of film he knows will entertain one person for certain: himself. Make something for yourself and others usually follow, and those of a like-mind with Johnson will see in The Last Jedi an ambitious, electrifying and reflective blockbuster.

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