Set in steamy Atlanta, Georgia, this sloppy, action-packed crime caper involves corrupt cops and criminals pulling off a daring daytime bank heist. Led by ex-Special Forces mercenary Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), there’s Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.), Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul) and Gabe’s big brother Russell (Norman Redus). Using their tactical training, the opening scenes are quite compelling. Read on…
Then they’re then blackmailed by Irina Vlaslov (almost unrecognizable Kate Winslet), Michael’s steely former sister-in-law, who is inexorably tied into the Russian-Israeli mob.
She refuses to pay them off unless they also break into a heavily secured Department of Homeland Security facility as part of a complicated plan to free her husband from a Russian prison.
The only way they can accomplish this is to create a police diversion called 999, a radio code for “officer-down.” Problem is: that’s foiled by Chris Allen (Casey Affleck), an idealistic, unsuspecting, former Marine, whose cynical, veteran police-sergeant Uncle Jeffrey (Woody Harrelson) is the primary investigator on the bank robbery case.
Convolutedly plotted by first-time script-writer Matt Cook, it’s superficially directed by John Hillcoat (“Lawless,” “The Road”), an Aussie who eschews morality and ethics. Instead, he obviously relishes pulpy, chaotic scenes, incoherently filled with grim, blood-soaked violence and heavy symbolism.
FYI: during pre-production, casting was often reshuffled. When Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”) dropped out, Anthony Mackie replaced him. When Cate Blanchett dropped out, Kate Winslet stepped in. And when Shia LeBeouf dropped out, Casey Affleck took his part. And so it goes…
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Triple 9” is a formidable 5, filled with dastardly double-crosses, greed and revenge.