On paper ‘Triple 9‘, the new adrenaline-filled heist movie from director John Hillcoat, seems like an no-brainer when it comes to picking what movie to see this weekend. It boasts a ridiculously impressive cast, a layered plot, an intriguing narrative and plenty of action. Unfortunately, this film’s reach greatly exceeds it’s grasp when it comes to actual execution. It starts by making you feel that you came in halfway through a season of a solid television crime drama and then basically insists you catch yourself up to speed as the story cartwheels unapologetically onward. It revolves around a group of criminals and corrupt cops who perform daring heists to pay off a debt to a Russian mobster (Kate Winslet). To go much further into the plot from there would require a flow chart. Suffice it to say that we are introduced to a host of characters who feel like they should have a more developed backstory which we are never given and we are then presented with plot twists which end up being more jarring than jaw-dropping.
The entire cast performs well in their roles. Kate Winslet and Anthony Mackie were the standouts for me with Winslet being almost unrecognizable as the Russian mob boss Irina Vlaslov and Mackie delivering an intense portrayal of a crooked cop watching all of his crew’s plans unravel. Norman Reedus and Gal Gadot are very talented actors but almost felt like throwaway characters in this film given their parts. Woody Harrelson was also a pleasure to watch but the movie’s fumbling execution never truly gave him a chance to shine as we’ve seen him do in other films. As I mentioned earlier with the plot, Casey Affleck‘s and Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s characters feel like ones we should care about, but we are never truly given any compelling reason to do so. While there is a good deal of action and plenty of gritty violence, ‘Triple 9’, for me, missed the mark on delivering anything substantial. At best, I’d give it a C-. More’s the pity considering the exceptional cast attached to this film.