9': Fails to thrill (IANS Review)
Viewing this film in India is a sure shot waste of energy and resource.
For one, your viewing experience is marred by the numerous bleeps enforced by the censor board. Secondly, with the absolutely dark frames and the convoluted plot, the film just doesn't sink in. And lastly, every scene feels familiar making the viewing tedious.
For the uninitiated, "Triple 9" is the US police code which means, 'Urgent help needed, Officer gunned down'.
This is a tough crime thriller that falls between the two quality extremes. It is the tale of a gang of corrupt police officers led by Special Forces ace Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and other officers who pull off a heist and the latter are blackmailed by Russian mobsters to carry out their nefarious plans. How they plan to eliminate their colleague Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) in order to buy themselves time to pull off their next heist, forms the crux of the tale.
The other members of the team are Russell Welch (Norman Reedus) and his brother Gabe (Aaron Paul), along with Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie) and Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins, Jr.)
The narration begins with a successful bank heist, full of telling details and arresting images till matters get out of control and a red flare goes off inside a getaway car. After that everything goes downhill.
The plot weaves a tangled web among the Russian mobsters, dirty-dealing detectives, a police officer who wants to make a difference and everybody caught in the crossfire. But they do not leave an impression, as screenwriter Matt Cook fails to make any of these characters strike a chord with the viewer.
And whether these characters live, get rich, or die trying to succeed in their motive, matters little by the second act, as the plot runs out of momentum. In the last act, just at the point when the focus should intensify, the narration wobbles almost to a halt and the journey of these unrelatable douchebags, goes nowhere as far as the audience is concerned.
Despite an exhaustive ensemble cast and a rich premise, "Triple 9" fails to ignite the screen.
With the likes of Ejiofor, Affleck, Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, all of whom do good job, nothing can be seen clearly, owing to the poor lighting.
Apart from that, in the male-dominated screen universe, Gal Gadot as Ejiofor's ex and Teresa Palmer as Affleck's wife get short shrift. It is Kate Winslet as Irina, the moll of the Russian mobster Vassillus, who stands out.
Ultimately, the film ends up being more of a bore than a thriller.