A new film from director John Hillcoat should be reason to celebrate. From 2006’s revisionist Western The Proposition to 2009’s ultra-postapocalyptic The Road to 2012’s Prohibition-era drama Lawless, this is a filmmaker who smashes stereotypes in well-explored genres makes us see familiar stories from new angles. So what happened with Triple 9? How did Hillcoat manage to make an urban heist thriller—about criminals using the murder of a police officer as a diversion—feel so, well, generic? How did he manage to render his terrific cast—which includes such names as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, and Anthony Mackie—as characters too unlikable to be genuinely engaging, but not complex or twisted enough to be intriguing anyway? Is it all down to the script, by newcomer Matt Cook? That doesn’t seem like enough of an explanation. There are certainly moments here that are superbly tense and dripping with anxiety. But then they’re over, and we’re left with a hollow emptiness. Hillcoat’s films have, previously, been haunting; they linger with you long after they’re over. But I had all but forgotten Triple 9 the minute it ended.
Director: John Hillcoat
Producer: Keith Redmon, Bard Dorros, John Hillcoat, Marc Butan, Anthony Katagas, Christopher Woodrow, Steve Golin, Paul Green, Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson, Kimberly Fox, Isabel Dos Santos, Tom Ortenberg and Peter Lawson
Cast: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr., Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael Williams, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Michelle Ang, Terence Rosemore, E. Roger Mitchell and Luis Da Silva Jr.