Triple 9, 2016.
Directed by John Hillcoat.
Starring Casey Affleck, Wood Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr., Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot and Michael K. Williams.
A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.
Triple 9 is the latest corrupt crime thriller to hit theaters. Here we follow a crew of dirty cops who have to pull off an impossible heist after being blackmailed by the Russian mob, led by Irina (Kate Winslet). Along for the ride are Mike (Chiwetel Ejiofor), whose son is also being held by the mob, Marcus (Anthony Mackie), Gabe (Aaron Paul), Russell (Norman Reedus) and Franco (Clifton Collins Jr.). Realizing the difficulty of this heist the team decide they need to pull off a 999, the police code for “officer down,” so that all the police will be busy responding, leaving them free for the heist. Now the question is what officer is going to be their target? That question is answered when Chris (Casey Affleck) becomes Marcus’ new partner.
Right off the bat the film sets up the intensity with a great heist sequence to get things started. From there until the end, the film never lets up and keeps you on edge until the final shot. Director John Hillcoat has always done a good job of setting up tension very well in his previous films and carries that over to this. He’s also been able to get great performances out of his actors and here it’s no different, which comes as no surprise given this all-star cast.
Everybody in the cast does a great job in their roles and are what keeps the film going. Despite the writing and dialogue not being top-notch, the performances thankfully are. While this is more of an ensemble piece our main protagonist is Casey Affleck, who does a fine job in the lead role. All the members of the heist crew do well with Ejiofor, Mackie and Collins Jr. getting the load of the work and each one of them handles their own. Aaron Paul unfortunately isn’t given much to do and Norman Reedus doesn’t have a lot of screen time but both are good in their roles. The standouts here though are definitely Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson. Winslet is menacing as the leader of the Russian mob and Harrelson brings a lot of charisma to his role as Chris’ uncle and fellow detective.
While the film moves at a great pace and the acting is on point from the get go there are a few negatives that are worth noting. Like I’ve already mentioned, the writing here isn’t spectacular, but I’ve certainly seen worse in similar films. One aspect of the story that’s hard to get behind are some of the characters you’re supposed to feel sympathy for. The two characters the writers want you to root for are Chris and Mike. Chris is understandable because he’s just the good cop trying to do his job the right way. However, when it comes to Mike it’s really hard to get behind him. His intentions are good because he’s doing bad things for the sake of getting his son back, but he takes some things to the extreme and doesn’t really seem he would be a very good father.
A few pratfalls here and there, but Triple 9 is able to overcome them with great performances from a stellar cast, a compelling story and some really nice action set pieces.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Jake Peffer – Follow me on Twitter