Thursday, March 17, 2016

"Triple 9" Review by Tim Hellman

'TRIPLE 9': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Gritty crime thriller; about a gang of criminals (including two corrupt cops) that are forced into performing two dangerous heists, for a Russian mob boss's wife. It was directed by John Hillcoat (who also directed the outstanding 'LAWLESS' and 'THE ROAD'), and it was scripted by first time feature film writer Matt Cook. The all- star cast includes Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, Clifton Collins, Jr., Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer and Cal Gadot. I enjoyed it immensely.

The story takes place in Atlanta, Georgia; where Michael Atwood (Ejiofor) leads a team of criminals in a daring bank robbery. They're objective is to retrieve a safe deposit box; which contains information vital to freeing a convicted Russian Mafia boss. Michael takes the box to Irina Vlaslov (Winslet), the mob boss's wife, but she insists they perform another job for her. She next wants the gang to steal more important data (on her husband), from a secured government building. Irina kills one gang member, and threatens to take Michael's son; in order to get the criminals to cooperate. The group devises a plan to kill a cop (a Triple 9 police call), as a diversion. Gang member Marcus Belmont (Mackie), a corrupt cop, suggests they kill his new partner, Chris Allen (Affleck).

The movie is very dark, gritty and graphically violent; it also contains explicit sex, nudity, disturbing drug use and lots of foul language. It's definitely not a movie for everyone, but the right audience should get a big kick out of it. Some of it seems pretty intense and hard to watch; but it also feels like a movie (like a really good crime action flick). The pacing is great, the performances are all good and the dialogue is witty. The film definitely has it's flaws too though. It's an especially odd mix of genre pleasing action formula, and realistic crime thriller; but I really enjoyed it.

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