Movie Review: A two-hour-long montage of men shooting men

Movie Review: A two-hour-long montage of men shooting men

By ANUBHAV PARSHEERA | | 12 March, 2016
Poster of Triple 9

Triple 9
Director: John Hillcoat
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet,  Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul.

A gang of crooked cops turned criminals pulls off a heist for a Russian mobster, who is blackmailing them. Unsatisfied, she assigns them another heist which is tougher to pull off. In order to do so, they decide to pull a “triple 9”, which is code for “officer down”. They decide to take down a policeman in another part of town simultaneously to distract from the heist. What follows is betrayal, gun battles, and almost everyone in the cast getting shot at one point or another.

On paper, this film is a sure winner. A heavy hitting line-up that consists of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul and Kate Winslet seems unlikely to disappoint. Writer Matt Cook pulls off the improbable and makes a well endowed film seem very average.  Almost every single character is underwritten, and as a result evokes little to no empathy. As the final heist nears closer, cracks begin to appear within the gang. However any tension that builds up is never probed into and is glanced over. The dynamics between the various gang members remains unexplored.  High on grit and beefed up men, Triple 9 runs low on content.

Almost every single character is underwritten, and as a result evokes little to no empathy. As the final heist nears closer, cracks begin to appear within the gang. However any tension that builds up is never probed into and is glanced over. The dynamics between the various gang members remains unexplored. High on grit and beefed up men, Triple 9 runs low on content.

Casey Affleck reprises his role of a chewing gum chewing person, a role he has excelled at over the years. Kate Winslet as the Russian mob boss Irina Vlaslov goes over the top with the Russian-ness and makes the choice of doing a very heavy accent which ends up as a distraction. Gal Godot, the next Wonder Woman does injustice to her career by appearing in a bit role that has absolutely nothing to contribute to the proceedings.

It’s a brave move to position criminals at the forefront of a movie. The criminals here are hardened and brutal in their ways, and a departure from the Hollywoodised criminals of the Fast and Furious series who commit crimes using series of carefully choreographed stunts in scenic locales, while continuing to look good and never getting shot. One of the partially redeeming aspects of the movie is that little to no effort is made to make any of the prime characters likeable. The slightly good men don’t introspect and neither do the bad men. The film constantly tries to blur the lines between good and bad every now and then but only ends up making everything hazy and uninteresting.

Everyone’s a jaded or corrupt cop in the Triple 9 universe and one can identify with the jadedness after the film gets over. The introductory sequence and the last 15 minutes are the most interesting bits but the movie is done in by a very average middle.  At the end of the day, this movie is a cautionary reminder that an ensemble cast alone does not make a movie click.

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