CANNES, France (AP) — Denis Villeneuve unveiled his drug war thriller "Sicario" at the Cannes Film Festival, premiering a muscular saga that plunges deep into Mexico only to reveal more about the other side of the border.
"For me, the movie's not about Mexico," Villeneuve told reporters Tuesday. "The movie's about America."
Emily Blunt stars as an FBI agent enlisted to a task force led by a cocky CIA operative (Josh Brolin). They're joined by a mysterious Columbian played by Benicio del Toro. In clandestine raids into Mexico and other illicit activities, they attempt to bring down a cartel boss.
A bleakly violent thriller, "Sicario" is the Quebecois director's second collaboration with the revered cinematographer Roger Deakins. Like their 2013 kidnapping drama "Prisoners," it's heavy with allusion to the morality of employing violent military tactics for the sake of American safety.
"We are living in a time where gray zones are more blurred than ever," said Villeneuve.
The director acknowledged that there was initially pressure for Blunt's protagonist to be rewritten for a male actor.
Del Toro, though, said the drug trafficking drama of "Sicario," which Lionsgate will release in the U.S. on Sept. 18, is familiar territory for him.
"I'm an old horse when it comes to that problem," the Puerto Rican actor said.
— By AP Film Writer Jake Coyle, http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP