Triple 9

2016-03-11 16:21

What it's about:

A group of criminals and some corrupt cops are being blackmailed by the Russian Mafia. The only way to appease the mafia is to carry out a challenging heist. They hatch a plan: on one side of town, half of the crew will commit the murder of a rookie cop, then, while the rest of the police force is distracted by the Officer Down incident, the other half of the crew will perform the heist.

What we thought:

Triple 9 is a film about good cops, dirty cops, and the ones that toe the line in-between. Despite having grand expectations with a killer cast, this cop noir fails to hit its stride with a struggling exposé on morality and a lack of focus on a lead character. Its good moments were due more to the talent of its cast rather than its directing and script, which left a wide-open field for thrilling potential twists. 

A rookie cop with an uncle in the force becomes unwittingly embroiled in the heist schemes of dirty cops and private security officers working for the Russian mob. Through the confusion and a trail of bodies, everyone’s trying to work out whom they can trust.

Cop films are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, and for one to really make an impact one needs a narrative full of twists and a group of characters that appeals to the audience’s humanity, unless you take the comedic route. Triple 9 attempts at the former, but unfortunately you are left with a horse that has lost its spirit a while back, and you're still desperately trying to kick life back into it. Although the story was part of 2010s prestigious Black List scripts, the writer’s vision either didn’t translate well to screen, or an inept director missed the beat of the story.

Too big a cast marred the gravitas of the film, with every character vying for the audience’s attention with their own story and motivations. At one point you weren’t sure which one to focus on, and the character who was supposed to be the main character– the rookie cop played by Casey Affleck – turned out to be the most placid of them all, acting as a flimsy glue to keep all the other stories together.

There was however one shining diamond in this muddle of a film, and that was Kate Winslet, as a vicious yet dedicated Mobster wife, in charge of the organisation while her husband is stuck in jail. The role gave her a chance to try something else without the weight of expectation, and I would love to see her more in villainous parts. Her stint in the Divergent franchise as the antagonist was torpid, and in Triple 9 she really sunk her teeth into her role.

Despite her performance, Triple 9 was a web with no real strong center and in the end it hurt the film’s message, if there was one. It was hard to discern any meaning between Woody Harrelson’s screw-everything-but-by-the-book attitude, Affleck’s soppy good cop routine and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s questionable conduct in pursuit of access to his son.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.