Thursday, March 10, 2016

[Review] Triple 9

Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Norman Reedus, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, and Michael K. Williams is an amazing ensemble cast for a gritty crime thriller. So the big question arises: Is the rest of the film as serviceable?

Set in a grim underbelly-like Atlanta where guns and drugs seem to grow from the cracks of the pavement, Triple 9's intricately detailed premise involves a lot of different parts and key players, so I'll just give you the gist of it: A group of thieves and dirty cops conspire to pull off a dangerously high stakes heist. And of course, it doesn't quite go as planned. If that isn't rough enough, the crew is also entangled with the Russian mafia, which is never a good thing.

Director John Hillcoat, who has a couple of great titles to his name (The Proposition, The Road), finds himself in messier and not-so-subtle territory here. So you kind of just have to sit back and submit yourself to the non-stop pulp, chaotic setpieces, and the ugliness of it all. The problem is that the film threatens to implode, and you might become desensitized to everything taking place on screen, as it all sort of becomes a big murky blur.

There's only so many Mexican gangbangers, stock Russian Mob types, informant prostitutes, greasy bankrobbers, and Alonzo Harris-es (Denzel Washington's character in Training Day) that the first 30 minutes of a movie can throw at you before you feel like you might get hit with a kitchen sink. And the cast--while all great--don't get a whole lot of opportunity to differentiate from each other. It's a major case of character overload. Still, the film packs some tense thrills as long as you can get a grip on who is who and what is transpiring, although this leads me to believe that this thing probably could've fared much better as a killer TV series on a Netflix platform or something.

Triple 9 is far from the top tier of this genre, but if you're a hardcore fan of this stuff either way, you probably won't be too disappointed.


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