In the wake of Breaking Bad and such films as Traffic and Savages, you’d think you’ve seen it all when it comes to epic drug cartel stories. But then you haven’t seen Lionsgate’s SicarioExplains director Denis Villeneuve on how Sicario stands apart, “It’s a hybrid cartel and war movie…it’s about the victims of the cartels and how America thinks it can solve problems outside of its borders with violence.”

In Sicario, which is playing in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, Emily Blunt stars as Kate Mercer, an FBI field agent who is dragged into an inter-agency task force with big sights on gaining yardage in the war on drugs. Josh Brolin is her bull-headed superior, while Benicio Del Toro plays an enigmatic Mexican prosecutor/hitman (aka “Sicario”) who is pivotal in the unit’s advances. While Del Toro won a best supporting actor Oscar for his turn as a Mexican cop in Traffic, his Alejandro in Sicario is far more calculated and ruthless. Says the actor, “When Traffic was made, the war on drugs wasn’t going anywhere. Fifteen years later, it’s still the same. I think these guys (in Sicario) are doing a complete reaction, a last call; they’re dropping the big bombs.”

Deadline sat down with Villeneuve, Blunt, Del Toro and Brolin today following Tuesday’s premiere. The film opens stateside on September 19.