Posted Feb 20 2016

Triple 9 - This Heist Movie Just About Rocks

Dir: John Hillcoat

Starring Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslett, Gal Gadot


Aussie filmmaker John Hillcoat relocates to contemporary Atlanta for his corrupt cops heist movie, which despite the best intentions can’t help – as all action-heavy heist movies must now do – but fall into the inescapable shadow of Michael Mann’s Heat. It certainly starts well however, with a nail biting bank robbery followed by a car chase gone wrong, all brought to life edgily by the director, as Chewie’s band of corrupt cops (Mackie, Paul and Reedus included) pull off their latest law-defying action for the Russian mob they find themselves indebted to, fronted by a superbly excessive Kate Winslett.

Casey Affleck is soon on the scene as the embodiment of all things good cop, backed by his somewhat more experienced, and therefore more embittered, uncle cop Harrelson. As events escalate, things inevitably spiral out of control as Affleck is chosen to be killed on the job (allowing for the 999 call – meaning “officer down” - that gives the film its title.)

The performances are uniformly strong, Mackie and Winslett in particular, and Hillcoat knows both how to stage an effective action sequence and make it effectively gripping throughout.

The film, however, proves unable to fully sustain itself – its first heist for example, is a lot more invigorated that its last. Similarly, despite the actors’ best efforts, the dialogue they are handed often has the result of rendering them one-dimensional.

But parts of this are very strong, even if the whole is a touch dissatisfying. In other words, it’s no Heat. (But then again – what is?)


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