Triple 9 Movie Review
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The one police scanner code that affects law enforcement the greatest is “999”. This ominous code means “Officer down / Urgent help needed”. This code sends chills down the spines over everyone in the profession because these brothers and sisters in blue know that at any given time it could be them. If ever that code is broadcast over the scanner, it’s all hands on deck as many quickly converge on the scene. Director John Hillcoat is no stranger to suspenseful tense dramas. Three of his most notable works, The Proposition (2005), The Road, Lawless, all share these same traits. If you’re good at something why not keep doing it, right? Hillcoat’s latest work is Triple 9, and unlike its predecessors, it takes place in present time making it more identifiable to a wider range of audiences.
Triple 9 is your good old-fashioned cops and robbers movie when you get right down to it. A series of highly organized, well executed heists are committed by a small team that has police scratching their heads as they’re always one step behind. One man (Woody Harrelson) is making it his personal mission to stop these men before things escalate and spiral out of control. Throw in corrupt cops, street gangs, one organized crime faction along with an already on-edge police force, then you’ve got yourself a massive powder keg ready to erupt at any moment. In order to pull off this one final job, the decision is made to cause a “999” alert to be made. Powder keg meet flame. Boom!
To call a movie like Triple 9 a breath of fresh air may seem a bit controversial given the subject matter involved relating to the intentional harming of a police officer. The entire conclusion is predicated on this idea. John Hillcoat will have his detractors simply due to the fact that there have been so many blatant attacks of late against those that wear the shield with honor to protect us each and every day. The purpose, and point of this movie does not promote random violence against police officers; so please do not pass unfair judgement, ridicule or outrage based on quick assumptions. This is a downright gritty, very real feeling movie that may make some feel a little uncomfortable. As often portrayed in these types of movies, there is corruption within the police force. There is violence on the streets with aggression coming from all sides. As stated earlier, this will be a very relatable plot line for many which will also stir the emotional pot at times.
The casting and execution of the roles is front and center here. Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gal Gadot, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins Jr., Norman Reedus and Kate Winslet are just some of the faces you’ll see. Kate Winslet is barely recognizable and, had I not known she was in it, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have realized it until the credits were rolling. Even the way she carries herself is different from her typical roles. The characters portrayed by each actor has definite multiple layers of complexity surrounding them. It’s easy to see that character driven performances are a high priority here. Along with the quality of acting, the story itself is very compelling while pulling viewers in further and further. What starts out as a seemingly straight-forward path, starts to wind and bend a bit causing audiences to reevaluate their feelings. Triple 9 is far from a black and white, good versus evil movie. This is more of nod to real life where there’s a much larger grey area than most of us are willing to acknowledge.
Triple 9 is constantly moving, bending, revealing and reinventing itself throughout the its 115 minute runtime. The level of intensity is in a heightened state pretty much the entire time so go into this thinking you’ll be kicking up your feet feeling relaxed most of the time. Quite the opposite in fact. There’s not much wasted on screen time here. I liken this movie to the very popular HBO series True Detective which typically consists of eight one hour episodes per season. The difference being that Triple 9 is pretty much a cumulation of the best, most interesting two hours seamlessly put together while trimming out the unnecessary bloat If you’re up for heavy, well-acted thriller then Triple 9 is exactly what you’re looking for.