Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Review: Triple 9

World of Blackout Film Review

Triple 9 Poster

Triple 9
Cert: 15 / 116 mins / Dir. John Hillcoat / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7


Say what you like about cinema audiences (and I have, frequently), but their en masse reactions are a source of great amusement to me, at least. As we sat down on Saturday night for a Secret Screening, I could tell from the gathered demographic alone that many people in the room were hoping it was going to be Deadpool. Alas, it wasn't, and while there wasn't a collective groan this time around, the general reaction to the BBFC card bearing the words "Triple 9" was more a one of '…and what the hell is this?'. The UK marketing for this movie has been sparse at best, despite the A-list names attached. But credit where it's due, there were no walk-outs tonight; everyone gave the film a fair crack of the whip.

Set in present-day Washington DC and spinning a tale of organised crime, cops and bent cops, Triple 9 is a perfectly serviceable crime-thriller, lifted from the straight-to-DVD shelf by virtue of its cast. The film feels slightly formulaic on occasion, although stories like this are generally headed in one direction, anyway. I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that a lot of people die in this film. In fact, my only real complaint is that Triple 9 could really do with being another half an hour longer, in order to let the central characters bed-in a little more. There are quite a lot of them here, and while the inevitable deaths are never treated as throwaway, they don't hold as much weight since we've barely gotten to know them.

Director John Hillcoat brings in a nicely understated collection of performances from his cast, given their pedigree, including a surprisingly restrained turn from Kate Winslet as Jewish-Russian Mafia matriarch, Irina Vlaslov (compare and contrast this with her performance in Insurgent). A feeling of claustrophobia and confusion bleeds through the whole film, but never to the point where the audience is lost, largely because corruption is reassuringly straightforward. The film works because both the cast and director are taking it seriously, rather than being the usual filler starring Russell Crowe or Liam Neeson. Although it loses a point for the frankly ridiculous amount of mumbled dialogue.

Triple 9 isn't going to set the world on fire, but it's very, very good at what it does and has the courage of its convictions.

I can't really ask for much more than that; I'd just like more of that...



So, watch this if you enjoyed?
End of Watch, The Departed, Training Day, that sort of thing..


Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Well, as nice as it is to have everything big and loud, this is really a DVD / sofa / bottle of wine kind of movie.


Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Almost.


Is this the best work of the cast or director?
No, but it's a comfortable supporting body of work.


Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Nope.


Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.


Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was in 12 Years A Slave alongside Lupita 'Maz Kanata' Nyongo.
Yeah, try saying that four times after you've had five pints.


And if I HAD to put a number on it…




DISCLAIMERS:
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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