There's something a lot deeper to be said about the complexity of a film like Sicario, other than the genius of Dennis Villeneuve and the cinematography that's come to define the film. The comparison between characters is a less-than distinct feature of the film, maybe even unexpected. Comparison and juxtaposition is very much a commonplace technique used in editorial and narrative based photography and art. You can find these juxtapositions and comparisons in lighting techniques too, the most obvious being the comparison between light and dark, low key and high key.
Emily Blunt's character, Kate Macer, starts off as an important figure, we follow her fast paced story expectant of a cliche tale of 'over-performing-agent' turned 'heroine'. You're lead into a sense of security from past films that have followed this suit. But it soon becomes apparent, as the male figures of power override almost everything, that she has no control over what is going on or even what is going to happen. It's here that you start to question her actual role in this film, and wether she is conforming to the a-typical lead role. It's soon revealed that her purpose is only to be there to warrant the team she's working with to take down who they want without interference. Hardly the heroine we were expecting. It questions wether her involvement was wholly necessary, but we know at this point another agent would have been drafted for this job without struggle. Our lead role, Kate, is a pawn and not a heroine. This non-conformist narrative structure is something of genuine interest to those who are looking for something more in our usual Hollywood driven film productions.
Then we have the drug trafficking police officer, Silvio, an interesting addition to the film. Again, this non-linear narrative structure leads us to think Silvio could be the offending target. It's actually satisfying and refreshing to be mislead by a film these days, and is definitely a lost art. Silvio is an archetypal father figure with a wife and child who has been caught up in the wider operation as a mule for transportation. Again his stature, like Kate, in law enforcement is being used for the benefit of a illegal activities. And like Kate, Silvio is a pawn in a larger operation. This is a juxtaposition between two sides of the story in similar circumstances and therefore questions who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?
During one scene as they raid an underground tunnel, Silvio and Kate cross paths under the hand of Alejandro, played by Benicio Del Toro, who instantly asserts himself over the law, as the law. He has shot and killed a civilian with a fatal blow to the head, captured a hostage (Silvio) and shot Kate in her bullet proof vest rendering her unable to move, writhing on the floor. Here Alejandro is our strongest character, he has the high ground over Kate. A certain sense of role reversal happens here. They wear the same uniform but are unequal.
If we race towards the end, at this point Alejandro has sought out revenge on the aptly named Fausto Alarcon, who killed his family. Fausto is the Cartel Drug Lord, Alejandro is a Sicario (Hitman), Silvio is a drug mule and Kate is an FBI agent who makes some fatal decisions which lead to her to be blackmailed by Alejandro to sign a waiver legitimising the entire operation. All in all each character is well grounded in the wrong, but when matters of family and people come in to the equation where does the line get moved and how far?