Stealing School (2019)

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Stealing School: Directed by Li Dong. With Celine Tsai, Jonathan Keltz, Mpho Koaho, Darrin Baker. A week before her college graduation, April Chen, a Chinese-Canadian tech prodigy, is accused of plagiarism by an unrelenting teaching assistant and must fight to prove her innocence in a secret trial held before an academic tribunal. As the day progresses, the motives and interests of all parties concerned are slowly exposed to reveal a complex web of corruption, greed and moral failings.

“u0026quot;Sicariou0026quot; describes, with surgical precision, the fatal and bloody desecration of Mexico as a result of its decades long cartel war. And it does so by compressing this almost endless tragedy into a two-hour tour-de-force of filmmaking. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAt its center we find idealistic FBI-Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), who is recruited to pursue a Mexican drug-baron. She is being guided by a seemingly untouchable covert assassin named Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). Their investigation and methods are pushed further into unknown territory where justice and morality are no longer valid. The end not only justifies the means, it requires them.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eDenis Villeneuveu0026#39;s masterful piece exemplifies not only filmmaking of the highest order, but carves out a place alongside the terrible news reports as a deeply regretful, angry and at times almost unbearable look into the abyss of a socio-political nightmare that is fueled by first world-habit and global economics.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThrough the powerful performances by Blunt, Del Toro and Josh Brolin in the leads as well as the excellent supporting cast, do we get a sense of the human cost (physical and psychological), which the war on drugs has taken.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFrom an exploding prison population, to the destruction of Mexican agriculture, to refugees and a cycle of violence that is beyond barbarity; the pull that u0026quot;Sicariou0026quot; exerts over the viewer is undeniable and by skirting the limits of bearable tension, without ever becoming exploitive, it is never giving an inch concerning its subject matter.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFew movies this year will have such a clear and defined structure and unflinching approach towards a situation that appears to be beyond salvation, while showing at the same time, that life nevertheless continues.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eTaylor Sheridanu0026#39;s script doesnu0026#39;t miss a single beat and without sidestepping anything frees itself from beaten movie conventions by using familiar elements in an extremely skillful manner.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAll these themes, stories and characters are captured through the lens of veteran Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) who lets us always know how the micro- and macro-particles of any conflict are inextricably intertwined. We share the vistas of beautiful sceneries while having to witness their downfall. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhatever ideals the likes of Emiliano Zapata once had, their country has now, as it is described in the movie, become „the land of wolvesu0026quot;. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFifteen years ago Steven Soderberghu0026#39;s „Trafficu0026quot; which earned numerous Oscars, not the least of which went to Benicio Del Toro, made a clear statement about the various strands the drug trafficking business touches. Now, all those years later we see in „Sicariou0026quot; that even the faintest of hopes that „Trafficu0026quot; held onto have been eviscerated. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhat now? One might ask.”

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