Movie Review: TRIPLE 9 (2016) – A rocky start but overall very engaging
Triple 9 was a surprisingly very enjoyable film that played out like you average every day crime film with some differences here and there that made it quite unique. It is essentially about some criminals, corrupt cops, and the russian mafia and how they all tie together in a mission to set up a seeminly impossible heist. One of the first things to note is the huge talented cast in this film, they include: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot, and Clifton Collins Jr. WOW. And every single one of them i thought put in solid, convincing performances that helped me to stay invested in the early parts of the film. The film has an overall very dark and grim tone throughout that i really liked. There is not much fun to be had at all but it worked for the story they were trying to tell. The story is also very interesting for the most part which was great. But not everything was smooth sailing.
The story mainly after the first act of the film was very engaging and it did a great job at blending the heist/crime elements with the action/thriller themes. There were some very intense moments that did have me holding my breath in anticipation of what may happen, which was great. Apart from maybe one or two instances the events of the film were not at all predictable, which allows you to anticipate and look forward to what was happening next. Some of the latter portions of the film introduced some mystery/thriller themes and reminded me a lot of Prisoners which is an incredible film.
The film suited having a very dark tone as it doesn’t sugar-coat any of the violent moments. It does get a little violent and gruesome at times but the gore didn’t feel overdone or out of place like it does in many other action/thrillers. Here it added more of a sense of realism to the film and added to the gritty nature. It also had an interesting visual style that came through at certain times throughout the film that i really admired. This was most likely the work of Director John Hillcoat who has done some other very visually engaging films, although that isn’t what he is known for. I wouldn’t mind seeing the film again just to see some of the foreshadowing and little details that hint to events later in the film that i may have missed.
The majority of the issues with the film occur in the first 30 minutes and it is mainly down to the pacing. There were some very exciting moments but there were also moments where it was starting to drag quite a bit and it took its time to move along. If it wasn’t for the performances the initial parts of the film would have been very hard to watch. Some of the story elements early on were thrown at you a little too quick and it did get a little overwhelming. It did make more sense a little later but it was kinda messy at times in the first act of the film. One thing i wish the film did a little better was getting invested in some of the characters early on. Some characters it does a great job with getting you to care about their agendas and their situation but there were moments where it was trying to get you to feel more for some of the characters but because of the nature of the film or those characters you kinda don’t… But that’s just a minor thing.
So in the end, apart from some complaints about the early parts of the film, it actually shaped up to be a very good one that you can definitely enjoy if you like the crime/heist genre. I don’t know where a lot of the highly negative reviews for this film are coming from because this was in no way anything less than a good film. The ensemble cast was great, the story was engaging and it kept you invested in the character right till the very end.