Out Now On-Demand
The code on the street is never black and white.
Brutal crime drama from the director of 2009's The Road that sees criminals and corrupt cops banding together for a massive heist. Stars Aaron Paul, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus and Kate Winslet.
A crew of dirty cops are blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a virtually impossible heist and the only way to pull it off is to manufacture a 999 - police code for "officer down". Their plan goes to hell when the unsuspecting rookie they set up to die foils the attack, triggering a breakneck action-packed finale tangled with double-crosses, greed and revenge.
Rating: R18 Graphic violence, drug use, offensive language & sexual material
Time Out London
Total Film (UK)
Brendan de Vere
Cops and Robbers.
What immediately comes to mind once watching 'Triple 9' is the Michael Mann epic crime drama, 'Heat'. Mann's criminal masterpiece has long been the benchmark for such films in this genre and Hillcoat's attempt to bring a similar experience to the screen can be seen as a success. It is a travesty that productions like these are made all to irregularly. They automatically capture the imagination of the audience and open up so many brilliant narratives and plot lines. So much can be done with the characters and their integration with one and other. 'Triple 9' is not quite up to the task of 'Heat' in terms of its overall impact but it is still able to deliver a powerful punch for an audience that enjoys the whole 'cops and robbers' affair. Even with poor lead-up marketing 'Triple 9' is a tantalising film to engage and had myself anticipating its release long before it made it to the cinemas.
John Hillcoat (Lawless, The Proposition) is a very popular Director and one that tackles his projects head on. Always exploring the relationships of his characters in intense and very real settings he accompanies his leadership with gritty scripts and brooding sombre scores that echo through a narrative that consumes the audience. Hillcoat has played around with a story set in the near future and recreated the recent past and it was only a matter of time before he directed a film that placed itself squarely in the present. Employing his tried and tested techniques from past productions, Hillcoat churns out another enthralling and addictive drama. Matt Cook is credited with writing this crime drama. Cook's narrative is set to a formula that has been explored before but it still works, building up to an unexpected climax that will keep the audience interested. Has the absence of Australian musician, Nick Cave, affected the make-up of the story? Cave has been the inspiration behind Hillcoat's last two productions, with both having that real dark, raw edge but Cook has compensated nicely. 'Triple 9' still has the eerie atmosphere that serves it well in the context of the tale.
John Hillcoat has drawn the best cast to drive his film and it begins with a bang as we are thrust straight into the middle of a bank robbery in the city of Atlanta. After a mistake is made by one of the bandits, the true identity of these criminals is revealed that sets the scene for the entire movie. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Michael Atwood, an ex military veteran who is up to his eyeballs in criminal activity. His crew, which includes Anthony Mackie as Marcus Belmont is made up of Atlanta's finest from the police department and like Atwood himself, army veterans. Triple 9 refers to the police code of 'officer down' and it is this exact incident that these bandits are relying on to do one last job for the undesirable, Russian mob run by Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet). On the other side of the fence are two tough cops. One is a hard nosed, unconventional leading detective, Jeffery Allen (Woody Harrelson) and the other is his nephew, Chris Allen (Casey Affleck), who is more of your idealistic, 'wants to make a difference' lawman. Chris rubs a few of his colleagues up the wrong way by asserting his authority on the rough and dangerous streets of Atlanta and it soon becomes apparent that he is the one that is the target of this lawless crew.
With so many great actors, it could have been a professional jostle for top billing but each plays their roles accordingly. Woody Harrelson stands out as the experienced commanding detective that has perhaps spent to long fighting the scum on the mean streets. His tactics are borderline but he is a realist and tough and knows exactly how his world works. Casey Affleck is strong in his performance as is Chiwetel Ejiofor but it is again the versatile talents of Kate Winslet that adds that little bit extra. This modern day great actress can do about anything and playing a Russian mob boss is only another feather in her cap. Throw in Gal Gadot as Winslet's sister, and Teresa Palmer as Affleck's wife and it really does become one of the best stellar casts put together for a long time.
'Triple 9' won't be for everybody but it will mesmerise its loyal audience. It paints a gruesome picture of life on some very mean and real streets in Georgia. The film burns away at a steady pace, revealing enough drama and suspense for the viewer to know that they are in for a strong and solid crime story.