The opening scene was triggering af and included helicopters using cross-hairs to scope out people trying to get across the US-Mexico border. The resonance with current events is clear within the first moment of the film, and the helicopter/border patrol point of view shows which side the movie will take: the side of the United States against a barbaric enemy.
The first five minutes include a person putting down a prayer rug and detonating an explosive, killing himself and border patrol agents. The forced association between the fear of terrorism from the Middle East with fear of immigration from Mexico pushed my discomfort to the point of nausea and I knew I could not allow myself to see and hear what this movie was prepared to tell me.
The amount of times American soldiers or government officials used phrases like “no rules now” or “time to get dirty” felt like a reinforcement of the anti-immigrant sentiment that the US government is trying to cultivate when it comes to hard-line approaches to borders and immigration. The protagonist’s script could have been rhetoric from Trump’s white house or clipped from one of the rash of white people committing aggressive verbal abuse against Mexicans and Middle Eastern people for simply daring to exist.
Movies that portray nationalist xenophobia as heroic and necessary, encourage the killings of black and brown peoples and actively attempts to restrict the movement, the very freedom, of black and brown peoples.
Essentially, I see movies like Sicario 2: Soldado as US imperialist propaganda that has the direct intention of militia building among specifically white supremacist, nationalist patriots. These types of films plant seeds of distrust and xenophobia in the minds of the public and then sends them into the streets to imitate the muscled protagonist who does whatever it takes to protect and defend, especially when it involves harming people of color.
In summary, I am in favor of ditching books that you don’t like reading and movies you aren’t enjoying, but this was something different. This was a need to remove my physical and emotional energy from something that was cultivated to make me see my reality in a very particular way, to make me behave and feel a particularly negative way toward a very specific group of people.
The stories I give credit to build the frameworks of my understandings, and so I must pick them carefully.