• Ben Erickson

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a crime drama directed by Stefano Sollima. The film continues the events of the first Sicario, following a government imperative to bring down a Mexican drug cartel. The original 2015 drama was directed by Denis Villeneuve and scored by Jóhann Jóhannsson, who received an academy award nomination for his work. A.O. Scott of the New York Times described Jóhannsson's music as a "slow-moving heart attack of a score", using electronic pulses and lamenting ruminations on acoustic instruments. The score was in its own way a heartbreaking commentary on the war on drugs that still rages across the Mexico-United States border, and its sequel has been scored by Hildur Guðnadóttir. A fellow Icelandic composer, Guðnadóttir collaborated with Jóhannsson on Sicario as a trained cellist and co-composed Mary Magdalene before Jóhannsson's tragic passing. While there is little doubt Jóhannsson would have returned for the sequel, Guðnadóttir has performed admirably in his stead. Her music revives an equally asphyxiating atmosphere to its predecessor, full of electronic elements that grind away any trace of humanity. Whining tones, deep, earthly rhythms, and bold attacks from percussion lead the way, joined by sustained and screeching violins, glass bowls, and brilliant, yearning - albeit brief - string quartets. Given Guðnadóttir is also a singer and normally arranges choral music I imagine she felt a bit outside her comfort zone here, but the music holds up to Jóhannsson's work all the same. The one observation I made during the film was that the use of silence on several occasions, by comparison to the original, fit the stark and brutal nature of the narrative exceptionally. Related Article: Jimi Hendrix-Style Cello Hybrid Defines Sacario: Day of the Soldado's Brooding Score