Film Review

JOHN HILLCOAT’S TRIPLE 9 — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Triple 9 is my kind of movie. But I expected that. This is a John Hillcoat film. Hillocat has only made movies that I have loved. The Proposition, The Road, Lawless, and now this nasty, 70’s-flavored cop film that has streaks of Lumet while possessing an aggressively stylish and modern aesthetic hand. Matt Cook’s hard boiled screenplay involving corrupt cops, heists gone awry, and shifting allegiances surprises all throughout, unexpectedly killing off characters with blunt force, made even more impactful by Hillcoat’s always incredible sense of grim fatalism. There’s zero fat on the narrative yet the story is still full bodied. The star studded cast all clearly had a blast playing in this scuzzy milieu, with Kate Winslet as a Russian-Jewish gangster stealing the entire picture from an appropirately glum and intense Casey Affleck and an extremely riled up Chiwetel Ejiofor. Aaron Paul does drugged-out despondency better than anyone, Anthony Mackie goes hardcore, and Clifton Collins Jr., yet again, delivers a robust and extremely memorable supporting performance, totally dominating the screen and adding yet another terrific character to his rogue’s gallery. Oh wait, and then there’s Woody Harrelson, completely OWNING the film every time he appears, bringing a sense of humor to the otherwise heavy subject matter. Theresa Palmer, it must be said, has a stunning backside. And Michael K. Williams gets the cameo of the year. Triple 9 is also brimming with fantastic car chases and ear-ringing shootouts that explode with dangerous intent. The throbbing muscial score by Atticus Ross is a perfect match for the purposefully ragged cinematography and editing, creating brilliant chaos that still remains coherent. And then there’s the last shot, which, for my money, is an instant classic for this type of material. If you love violent cop films with hardened, unrepentant characters who aren’t easy to root for, if you yearn for more R-rated genre entries like this that harken back to the old days, then go out and see Triple 9.

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