Film of the Day (12/28/18): Triple 9

 

Written By Matt Cook
Directed By John Hillcoat

This is one of those cases where the whole is less than the sum of its parts, but is still an enjoyable two hours with a lot of good things to like. The cast is jam packed with stars (Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Casey Affleck to name but a few) that all have a good handle on their roles and turn in good performance, and the filmmaking is top notch. John Hillcoat, who has directed some amazing slow burns like The Proposition and The Road, handles this action thriller like a pro, shooting with a blend of style and intensity that is sure to keep you entertained. The problem lies in a muddled script full of twists (many of them predictable and transparent), murky motives and characters who occasionally come across as parodies. Kate Winslet’s Russian mob boss don’t have enough screen time to justify the level of terror she is supposed to induce in the other characters, and sometimes comes across funnier than she should between the accent and the wig. The direction and action overcame the script issues I had, and I really appreciated the quality of the set pieces. The high-octane opening scene, for instance, immediately grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go, letting you know the kind of ride you are in for. I liked the mix of straightforward camerawork with handheld, especially as the latter wasn’t the excessive type that makes you feel nauseous and dizzy. This is a solid, if unsurprising, cops-and-robbers thriller whose script holds it back from greater aspirations, but delivers the goods you assume a film like this will bring.

 

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