Starring: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Woody Harrelson
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Running time: 1 hr 55 mins
Open Road Films
Our Score: 4 out of 5 (stars!)
A group of men rush into a local bank. Brandishing weapons they wordlessly force the manager into the vault. Soon they have what they came for and run out. A few hours later they change clothes, put on their badges and go to work.
A well-crafted thriller, “Triple 9” is a game of one-upmanship between a group of dirty cops and the wife of an imprisoned gangster. It seems that one of the gang had a child with the wife’s sister and now she is holding their son hostage until she gets what she wants. What she wants is achievable but to buy the time necessary they need to have a “Triple 9” – a police call that signifies that an officer has been shot. Who will be the unlucky boy in blue?
Sharply written and featuring an amazing cast, “Triple 9” is an early spring present for movie goers. As the leader of the baddies, Ejiofor is strong. Hot when he needs to be, but always cool, it is easy to see why the men follow him. Anthony Mackie, Norman Reedus and Aaron Paul are among the bad apples, and the rapport they share on screen is strong. Harrelson is a veteran detective who is helping mentor his nephew (Affleck), the new guy on the block and the cop with a bullseye on his back.
The action set-pieces are well performed and director Hillcoat keeps the film moving from the first frame to the last. The film’s tone is set and runs on the original music and songs created by a very talented quartet of young men. The music is often able to further the plot in a way that simple dialogue cannot. Who is bad and who is good? Instead of hitting you over the head, “Triple 9” lets you decide on your own.