Triple 9 movie poster

The title refers to the code police use to indicate that a fellow officer is down, a situation that apparently brings every cop in town on the double. Just the sort of distraction you might need to pull of a lengthy, high-tech smash and grab. The good thing here is the cast: Anthony Mackie and Clifton Collins Jr. as a couple of dirty cops, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, and Aaron Paul as bad guys in trouble with worse guys, one of whom is Kate Winslet. Top it off with Casey Affleck as a young cop who is nephew to old cop Woody Harrelson. They treat their roles with varying degrees of sweaty seriousness, but even the hams (Winslet and Harrelson) aim to please. The bad thing is the grim ‘n grimy lighting: apparently, Atlanta is dim and dingy just about any time, any place. The unpleasant thing is the gore, sometimes useful and sometime gratuitous. The uneven thing is John Hillcoat’s direction: a tense, sustained journey through an apartment while lined up behind a bulletproof shield alternating with indulgent zooms and cuts depicting local color. The forgettable thing is the dialogue, which tends to put on nasty airs. 2016.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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