Bombay Showcase

Good cop, bad cop, bland movie

Kate Winslet (top) seems to be having the most fun playing an outlandish character, but has too small a role to have an impact.  

A bank robbery goes as per plan until something strange happens. A can of anti-theft dye explodes inside the car covering the gang members in bright crimson splash bang in the middle of the city of Atlanta. The unexpected visual splendour of the scene is almost surreal. And its impact, foreboding. These men are about to commit another crime to make up for a botched up robbery and the ending, you sense, isn’t going to be one for the faint-hearted.

While visually, Triple 9 keeps up with the standard it sets with the opening sequence: the dark bars and the grungy underbelly all captured with minimum fuss and cinematic intensity, it loses the plot, literally. On paper, it should make for a taut crime thriller, a solid cop flick. When the gang’s theft of a safe deposit box, which has information that could overturn the conviction of their Russian mafia don, gets messed up, the boss’ wife, a sort of queen bee Russian-Israeli Irina (Kate Winslet) sets them up for yet another, difficult heist in a government office.

The gang comprises Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Russell Welch (Norman Reedus) and his brother Gabe (Aaron Paul). They have two corrupt cops with them: Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie) and Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins, Jr). Their easiest way out, they figure, is a Triple 9 — a code word to kill a cop — that would distract the police force while they are at it.

And then we have the cop’s side of the story: Chris Allen (Casey Affleck), a rookie who is the target of the Triple 9 operation and we have his uncle, Sergeant Detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson, bringing back happier cinematic memories of True Detective ).

From here, Triple 9 becomes increasingly uninvolving. Much like its bank robbery, it makes a mess of such a stellar cast.

Its moody intentions are taken over by a cookie-cutter mould screenplay, ridden with predictable twists. Firstly, with less quality time spent with each character, there is little at stake. Interestingly, it is Ejiofor’s Michael and Harrelson’s Jeffrey who invoke the most empathy rather than the good cop played by Affleck. While Michael’s son has been kidnapped by Irina, Harrelson is a cool character who does things his own way, picking up half smoked joints from dirty bins after breaking into a criminal’s pad. Winslet seems to be having the most fun playing an outlandish character who speaks in a quasi-Russian accent but has too small a role to have an impact.

But besides these small pleasures, Triple 9 leaves a lot to be desired.

Triple 9

Director: John Hillcoat

Starring: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr

Runtime: 115 mins

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 11, 2021 5:58:50 PM |

Next Story