Best Movie Scenes will be a semi-weekly series in which we dive into some of the best movie scenes of all time and discuss exactly what makes them great. If you haven’t seen the movie in question, there’s a good chance there are some spoilers.
The brilliance of Sicario is evident in a lot of the movie, but never more than in the gunfight at the border. This scene really begins before the clip below does. It leads off with the American task force briefly traveling through Mexico to pick up a prisoner before heading back stateside. In that time, there are some incredible, wide landscape shots and the focus seems to be more on the scenery and the cartel controlled city than on our characters. Throughout, we start to get hints of things that might go wrong. As we start the return car ride, the camera focuses much more on the characters. We are then shown the traffic and begin to feel like something will go wrong at any moment.
Then we start to get ideas of what other vehicles in the traffic might be a threat. Our characters begin to prep for a fight that seemingly can come at any time. The tension is climbing to its highest point. The score matches what we are seeing on screen perfectly.
We then get our payoff. It’s a quick and efficient gunfight, almost entirely one sided. It’s the perfect end to this scene and everyone, the characters and audience included, can begin to breath again. And most importantly, it shows the best action scenes aren’t great for the moment of actions themselves, but the leadup to that action. Check it out below.
You should also check out the below video, in which the Cinefix YouTube channel does an even more detailed breakdown better than we ever could. I encourage you to watch it if you want to see exactly how brilliant the filmmaking is in this scene.
Let us know what you think of the scene in the comments below. You can also let us know what scene you want us to take a look at next.