bree1981’s review published on Letterboxd:
This was absolutely epic, a lot better than I was expecting it to be, I was all set to give it 4 and a half stars then I thought, what could it have actually done any better? The answer I came to was nothing, from the first scene to the last this is a white knuckle ride full of tension and suspense, there were a few scenes where I was actually holding my breath.
Emily Blunt stars as Kate Macer, the leader of a FBI team kicking down doors in Phoenix, Arizona fighting a loosing battle against the ever expanding Mexican drug cartel's when she is manipulated into volunteering for a shadowy government task force lead by Josh Brolin's cocksure Matt Graver alongside the mysterious Alejandro (a never better Benicio del Toro).
Blunt is the beating heart of this film, showing both a steely determination as well as crippling vulnerability she's as much in the dark as we are for most of the runtime, only learning details of her new role in drips and drabs when her superiors deem it necessary, she knows she is being used but is not sure to what extent. She's matched all the way by her co-stars Brolin and Del Toro in what is a magnificently acted movie full of standout scenes (the drive out of Juarez is an absolute masterclass in how to build palpable tension). Intelligently scripted by Taylor Sheridan (Sheriff Hale from Sons Of Anarchy) in what is amazingly his first script, the film also looks spectacular with Roger Deakins cinematography capturing the wide open desert vistas as well as the grim tangled streets of Mexico where trouble could be hiding behind any corner.
Overall, this should join the likes of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty as one of the greatest war films of the modern era, the only difference here is the war is fought on America's doorstep. I honestly can't recommend this film enough, stop reading my overly gushing review an go and see it.