An A-list cast adds class to a B-movie plot in seamy heist thriller Triple 9, although their acting chops can’t elevate this stock tale of dirty cops and double crosses to the ranks of the Hollywood crime classics it plunders.
All the same, it’s quite a kick seeing the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kate Winslet getting down and dirty in atypical roles. Ejiofor leads a ruthless bank-robbing crew made up of corrupt Atlanta police officers and former special-forces soldiers, and a brassy Winslet, all bouffant hair and bling, is the flint-hearted Russian-Israeli mob boss who is coercing the gang into attempting a near impossible heist.
The bent cops in Ejiofor’s band include Anthony Mackie and Clifton Collins Jr’s cutthroat duo, while Casey Affleck’s guileless young officer and Woody Harrelson’s cynical police veteran represent the city’s beleaguered forces of good.
Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road, Lawless) has clearly been studying the Michael Mann playbook and he gives the action scenes plenty of muscle, with the opening bank heist and a taut room-by-room police raid of a housing project proving standout scenes. But Chris Allen’s script doesn’t give the characters enough substance to make us care for their eventual fates and give their ordeals real emotional heft.
Certificate 15. Runtime 116 mins. Director John Hillcoat