Year of Film # | 2
Title | Triple 9
Year | 2016
Format Viewed | Cinema
The assembled cast is staggeringly impressive: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet… the list goes on. Yet, despite this interesting and undoubtedly talented group, Triple 9 feels little more than a decent late night cop/heist/conspiracy thriller than the 1990’s seemed to be littered with.
*Some spoilers to follow*
Essentially, there’s the possibility for two pretty good feature films here. The first is a heist movie focussing on a group of bank robbers that hit a big score, but get screwed over with payment and forced into doing a second job. Added to that is the fact that the group leader’s son is effectively kidnapped, and you have the seeds for an interesting story. Hell, the ‘triple 9’ aspect (the idea that they need to kill a policeman to distract the force while they hit a highly secured facility) could have led to a moralistic conflict – particularly with some of their number being dirty cops themselves. The second potential story involves a relatively young detective, recently transferred from a department with little credibility. As he struggles to get out of the shadow of his legendary (but over-the-hill and substance abusing) uncle, he investigates a spate of robberies done by a professional looking squad – a squad that attempts to kill him to for their advantage.
Handled correctly, either of the above scenario could have made for a cracking story. Unfortunately, the sort of halfway house of each doesn’t really work. Any sympathy for the heist team is eradicated with how easily they all go along with the triple 9 idea. Now, because we know who makes up the squad, we lose all the potential paranoia that could be generated when Casey Affleck’s character finally puts the pieces together and realises that their are dirty cops on the team.
As for the rest of the film, the directing and cinematography are fine, but the editing together of events leads to greater disappointment the deeper into it we go.
There are some plus points. A small handful of scenes standout – these include the opening heist, a scene where Affleck’s team chase down a gunman in the cramped corridors of a housing complex, the ‘triple 9’ scene, and the very last few minutes of the film. Couple these with decent acting and you have a film that is… okay. You could watch once and it’ll be fine, but I highly doubt this will be on anyone’s repeat viewing list. The most disappointing thing I’ve seen so far this year.