3.5 out of 4 stars
Grey becomes the darkest shade of black in Denis Villeneuve’s sizzling drug war thriller, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border.
The line between good and evil is blurred with sinister intent on both sides, threatening to corrupt even the one character whose motives are pure: Emily Blunt’s Kate Macer, a fearless yet idealistic FBI field agent.
Hoping to apprehend the Mexican drug lord responsible for the horror she uncovers at the outset — an Arizona house stacked with corpses — she agrees to fall in with a shadowy U.S. anti-cartel task force run by Josh Brolin’s Matt Graver, a man of easy smile and unclear intent.
Benicio Del Toro’s Alejandro, a former Mexican prosecutor assisting the dark ops, is similarly unreadable. Brolin and Del Toro play covert characters to cool perfection, while Blunt’s equally strong Macer seeks to engage us.
She acts as civilization’s conscience in Villeneuve’s timely film, which urgently inquires whether fighting evil with evil in the wars on drugs and terrorism is justified or merely expedient.
Extras include making-of featurettes.
3 out of 4 stars
Almost as audacious as Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire “coup” on the World Trade Center is The Walk, Robert Zemeckis’s dramatic screen retelling of the French daredevil’s feat.
There is already an excellent documentary account of the event, James Marsh’s Oscar-winning Man on Wire from 2008. A fictionalized version seems superfluous, especially with U.S. actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Petit with an accent and manner suggesting a Gallic parody by a young Robin Williams.
Yet somehow the film succeeds in spite of its immoderation, especially when the stunt is at hand. Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) is in his realm as a cinematic conjuror when Petit steps onto the wire, stretched 1,350 vertiginous feet above Manhattan, leaving us for the next 30 minutes agape and wondering where our cynicism landed, along with our stomachs.
Extras include deleted scenes, cast interviews and making-of featurettes.