Director: John Hillcoat
Cast: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet
Spoilers Within: No
Originally posted 8th July 2016 on Letterboxd.
Boasting one of the finest casts of 2016, John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 is sandwiched by two visceral, blood-pumping heist sequences, but the primary filling weighs down the film with overly-complex and elaborate scenes that result in a film that feels like two entirely separate entities.
Firstly, the cast is both great and standard, no worse nor better than they’ve been before: it’s not a case of ‘phoning it in’, and it’s certainly not the best film any of them have been in, but they do carry what they’re given with aplomb. Casey Affleck is typically charismatic to watch, but it’s Ejiofor’s against-type scenery munching that gives the film some much-needed teeth. Some of the cast feel wasted, but this is a result of the film feeling like those two separate parts: Ejiofor’s ‘one last job’ for the Russian mobsters (led bizarrely by a bequiffed, accented Kate Winslet) who kidnapped his son, and Affleck’s resolute, moral cop wanting to ‘do the right thing’, who serves as the audience’s moral compass amongst all the inter-police corruption.
The rest of the cast don’t seem to have a whole deal else to do except fit into their cookie-cutter roles, the wealth of characters meaning that they only have a brief period to flesh them out, with some succeeding more than others. Toward the final act, there is yet another tonal shift that collapses the promise for a satisfactory ending; it’s these shifts that highlight the missed potential that was teased from the beginning.
I wish there was more positivity to express; it’s not a bad film, nor one that I would discourage from the casual viewer: but for those looking for something meatier and more rewarding, I’d recommend lowered expectations.