Verdict: Dirty cop drama that packs a punch.
John Hillcoat is famous for making films that *almost* cut it, but somehow, lack the necessary ingredients to blow your mind. In Triple 9, he manages to tread a little closer to doing just that.
Triple 9 starts off as just a bank heist. But as the film progresses, you see multiple layers begin to surface, in order to give you an exciting action-thriller, filled with deception, back-stabbing, and a whole lot of blazing guns. It stars Kate Winslet as the bleach blonde mobstress (for the lack of a better word), Irina Vlaslov, who runs the business on behalf of her "Kosher Russian gangster" husband. She can rattle the cops, strong arms into people working for her and has the FEDs in her pocket.
The men working for the lady are a group of fallen cops and ex-military guys, who know exactly how to carry out a successful heist, be it at a bank or some high-tech Homeland Security storage. Our men are: the mastermind Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the dirty cop Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), the impetuous Homicide detective Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.), and the loose-cannon Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul). They have to pull off murdering a cop – called a Triple 9 in cop tongue – to divert attention from their heist. The luckless lad chosen is a bright-eyed rookie Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) whose uncle Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson) happens to be the man investigating our four guys.
With an unsettling amount of twists and turns, director John Hillcoat manages to one-up his previous work Lawless. Triple 9 gives you everything you want a dirty cop movie to be. It has the perfect dose of action and drama, with a plot that grips you back just when you think it’s getting dull. Woody Harrelson is perfect as a cop and does absolute justice to his character – the balancing act between being a ruthless cop and a loving uncle act. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anthony Mackie impress with their acting. Kate Winslet carries off the role with an almost enchanting Russian-accented elegance. Casey Affleck does an excellent job, along with the breaking bad actor Aaron Paul.
Between gunshots and betrayals, you’ll find a film that impresses you because of the director’s vision. You can almost see John Hillcoat enjoying as the story manoeuvres through dark alleys, Hispanic neighborhoods and beat-up cars.
Why You Should Watch This Movie: If you’re an action junkie, you should watch Triple 9 for the high octane twists and turns, the fine performances, and John Hillcoat’s splendid direction. The film is sure to leave you asking for more.