Writer: Matt Cook
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson, Clifton Collins Jr., Norman Reedus, Michael K. Williams, Gal Gadot
Running time: 115mins
What’s the story: A gang including crooked cops are forced to execute high risk heists by a female Russian-Jewish mob boss. To pull off one of the heists requires a lethal misdirect involving an unsuspecting fellow officer.
What’s the verdict: Triple 9’s cast list is a quadruple wow. Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie and Clifton Collins Jr make up the crew committing audacious robberies in the city of Atlanta.
Kate Winslet is the mob boss pulling their strings, with Wonder Woman Gal Gadot as her wastrel sister.
Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson (with a star n’ stripes necktie) are cops on the side of the angels. The Wire’s Michael K. Williams pops up for a memorable one-scene cameo.
And if Triple 9 doesn’t reach the heights of Ben Affleck’s The Town or Michael Mann’s Heat (which it clearly reaches for) it remains a great Friday night thriller with blistering action scenes and muscular performances, Winslet out-doing the boys in dead-eyed villainy.
After the misfire of Lawless, director John Hillcoat is back on the form of The Road and The Proposition, bringing to life Matt Cook’s James Ellroy-esque script of corrupt and/or tortured cops, Old Testament justice and horrific violence (shootings, beatings, beheadings) with a film slathered in hellish reds and murky blacks.
An opening bank robbery that spills out into morning rush hour is a how-to guide in high-octane suspense as is a later assault on a drug dealer’s lair in a rundown project.
A handful of contrivances that should have been read their rights and a plot guessable on more than one occasion stop this from being a future crime classic.
But, with thrills served this stylishly and the story told with such pace and panache, you’re unlikely to call the 5-0.