Saturday, February 27, 2016

Triple 9 - Movie Review: Fantastic Until the End

Can a movie still be considered good if the ending is bad?
Triple 9 starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Norman Reedus, and directed by John Hillcoat. Well that’s an impressive cast. Is the movie good with all the talent assembled though? The film does deliver up until the very end, and then goes off the rails. The movie tells the story of a group of thieves who must complete two heists in order to satisfy the whims of the Jewish Mafia. Two of the thieves in the gang are corrupt cops. They devise a plan for the second heist to kill a cop which will divert attention away from the crime they plan to commit.
This movie is packed with talented actors, and they all give great performances. The only one who I didn’t completely buy was Kate Winslet as the Mafia boss, but I didn’t even realize it was her in the movie while I was watching. If she transformed herself so much for me not to notice it was her as an actress that’s impressive. I might have more issues with how the character was portrayed and how she was written. It might have just been hard for me to buy into the Jewish Mafia being menacing.  They are shown in the movie being extremely tough, but it is still a little hard to think of the Jewish Mafia being terrifying while wearing yarmulkes. Though I certainly don’t want to be caught in a dark alley any of the characters in the movie. Chiwetel Eijofor’s character is involved with the Mafia bosses sister and has a son with her. He is the one tasked with putting a crew together and completing the heists. He is fantastic, as always. Casey Aflec is also great and he is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. Woody Harrelson is Woody in the movie. I can’t think of anyone else to play cop with substance abuse problems, but with a heart of gold.
Along with the amazing cast, John Hillcoat does a good job of directing the movie. The action is intense and visceral. You feel like you are with the police officers as they storm a building, or along for the heist as the crew knocks over a bank. You also never feel comfortable when Hillcoat ratchets up the tension. I never felt like I knew what was going to happen during each action sequence. Quite a few of the deaths throughout the course of the film are unexpected. Some things outside of the action pieces however are predictable and it’s towards the end of the movie when things go haywire.  
I don’t know what to think about the ending. I was loving the movie up until the end. The decisions made on how to finish the story just left me frustrated with the film overall. I’m not sure what the ending was supposed to mean, or if it was supposed to mean anything. They may have been shooting for an ending which states life has no point, or that you reap what you sow.  If this was the case it was executed poorly. It almost felt like they didn’t know how to tie up the movie and rushed to a conclusion to tie up all the loose ends. The film almost needed another fifteen minutes to expand on the story of each ensemble cast member. The audience is left with too many unanswered questions about characters we became attached to during the course of the movie.
There really isn’t too much more to say about Triple 9. It is an extremely well-acted and directed action crime thriller. The story just has a very unsatisfying ending. If you like crime thrillers I would suggest going to see it, just lower your expectations overall. The movie is worth seeing, just maybe at a matinee price, a rental fee, or even waiting for it on a paid channel. If I see the movie on television I would stop and watch the action scenes for sure, and probably get sucked in and then turn it off close to the end of the film.

So are you planning on seeing Triple 9? If you have seen it what did you think? What are some of your favorite crime thrillers or heist movies? The Usual Suspects is up there for me. Comment and let me know.  

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