Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The word sicario originated in Roman-governed Palestine, and originally referred to the Sicarii, a Jewish sect known for using concealed daggers to slay ruling officials; today, however, it has evolved into a generic term for a hired killer. This documentary from director Gianfranco Rosi visits one of the most notorious of all contemporary sicario. Filming takes place in a low-rent motel room, situated on the border between the United States and Mexico. A nameless hitman, based in Ciudad Juárez, candidly acknowledges his own responsibility for the execution of hundreds of individuals, as well as his immediate role in the torture and kidnapping of those victims. At one time, he says, he was simultaneously in the upper echelons of the Chihuahua State Police and multiple Mexican drug cartels. Now, as the cameras roll, there is a $250,000 contract on his life and he lives from day to day as a fugitive, seated in a hotel room, with a black mesh hood over his face. As an extended interview without cutaways or reenactments, the central account emerges solely from the harrowing, uncensored reflections of its felonious subject.