Triple 9, directed by John Hillcoat is a film that jumps headfirst into the raw reality of its world. This is a film that weaves a web of broken and messed up characters into a world that does not treat its inhabitants very kindly. Backed by tense action and its own rules – Triple 9 is a film that, whether you like it or not, brings you kicking and screaming into its scary environments.
The story in Triple 9 is a little difficult to succinctly sum up. In simple terms this is a film about a group of criminals attempting to pull of a dangerous but necessary heist in the hopes of gaining separate things that are important to them. On a bigger scale this is a film about very different people all being wrapped up in a world that does not treat supposed friends kindly, nor does it seemingly want to. Everyone is at risk and everyone has their own agendas in Triple 9.
So I think the thing that surprised me most in Triple 9 was how much I ended up enjoying its story – a story that when the film first began seemed like it was going to be pretty run of the mill – nothing to engaging. But as the film progressed it began to splinter out into many smaller, more interesting segments that would all soon make their way back together for the conclusion of the film. What this meant was that Triple 9 offered up something simple and plain at the beginning (I was readying myself to shut off the engagement part of my brain) but then as I progressed it started to introduce some really interesting side stories that played into one another very well – things could have easily gotten mismanaged and confusing but Triple 9 ends up divvying up it’s 1 hour and 55 minute run time to all the various elements quite suitably.
What also makes this story work as well as it does is the great assortment of characters within them. Triple 9 has quite a large and varied cast of characters, all who actually brought some really interesting but messed up elements to the table. This means that there isn’t one character in particular that the film primarily focuses on and the result is a film that brilliantly weaves all the story-lines of the characters very well with one another.
From dirty cops like Anthony Mackie’s character Marcus Belmont, to the head of a sadistic Russian gang headed by Kate Winslet’s character, Irina Vlaslov or a family man who wants to do right by his shield and his fellow cops with Casey Affleck’s character, Chris Allen. Triple 9 is a film that has more than one intriguingly damaged character that is wrapped up in a world of corruption, back stabbing and suspicion. I mean I’ve barely even touched on the wide array of characters/actors that this film boasts and it still surprises me just how well it manages them all. I never felt like any one was over shadowing another or that there was a noticeable weak link that was dragging others around them down. No, instead Triple 9 just kept pulling me further into this very gripping but screwed up world.
Now the film isn’t without problems and I think the biggest problem for the film is that with such a large array of characters who dance the line between good and evil, you have the problem of not really having anyone to root for. The majority of the characters are really bad people and thus when it comes to some of them being taken out of the game (killed) I personally couldn’t muster up any sort of emotional response to this. In my eyes another bad guy had bitten the dust and we could move on over to seeing how the other bad people would fair. Apart from Casey Affleck’s character (Chris Allen) and Woody Harrelson’s character (Jeffrey Allen) everyone else was expendable to me. So while I was certainly interested in all the characters I wasn’t really invested in them getting away and getting a happy ending. So that emotional disconnect was constantly present for me.
But when the film isn’t pulling you in with some interesting character back and forth or an exciting twist in its story, Triple 9 is commanding all of your attention with its brilliantly crafted action sequences. These are scenes that are filed with boat loads of tension and even though some of them are small in scale, they still really hold your focus. What also makes them so good is how well they are shot. The film actually lets you see what going on and doesn’t do that annoying thing of using asinine amounts of shaky cam all which is to make up for the fact that the director is usually not talented enough to shoot it or of course the budget doesn’t allow time for it be properly done. That isn’t a problem in Triple 9 and I was thoroughly entertained by the many great action sequences the film offers.
I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed Triple 9. This was a film I went into not expecting much and came out pleasantly surprised by just how competently it handled all its various elements. Now I’m not saying that Triple 9 is an amazing film that you need to rush out and see, no. But this is still an enjoyable film with a lot more to offer than first seems.
So I will be recommending Triple 9. I enjoyed my time with this film and I think this is one that you can sit down, enjoy what it has to offer and not feel like you’ve wasted your time when you walk out. Not a glowing recommendation I know but Triple 9 still deserves your attention I think.
So are you interested in seeing Triple 9? Let me know in the comments down below. To keep up to date with my other reviews you could either follow this Blog or follow me on Twitter – @GavinsTurtle. Either way thanks for taking the time to read this and have a good week.