Edge of your seat thrills — at Kate Freakin’ Winslet — in ‘Triple 9’

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

by Lauren Bradshaw

One of the things I dislike the most about being a movie critic is coming out of a movie that I enjoyed, only to hear other critics bashing it – as was the case in my screening of TRIPLE 9. Is this movie going to make your top 10 list? Probably not. But it is an incredibly entertaining ride, with a pulsating score, incredible performances from the all-star cast and edge of your seat thrills. So with that said, let me respond to the criticism I heard before briskly walking away from it all.

-Yes, the story is confusing… if you aren’t paying attention.

TRIPLE 9 is NOT a movie to see if you want to turn your brain off or get easily confused in movies, simple as that. But it also doesn’t take a genius to understand the plot of the movie. Let’s explore. Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Marcus (Anthony Mackie), Gabe (Aaron Paul), Russell (Norman Reedus) and Franco (Clifton Collins Jr.) are criminals, making their money from robbing banks. The group is incredibly successful due to the fact that a few of the members are military veterans turned police officers. So not only do they have tactical training, but they also have a way to hide their tracks from within the judicial system.

But unlike the other men, Michael has family issues that will have a significant impact on his next big job. Elena (Gal Gadot) is the mother of his son, and comes from a powerful, dangerous family. Her sister Irina (Kate Winslet) is a king… queenpin who runs Atlanta’s faction of the Russian mob after her husband was imprisoned. To secure her husband’s freedom, Irina enlists the group of men to steal evidence (documents) from a Department of Homeland Security facility in the city. She uses Michael’s son, death threats, and the promise of enormous cash as leverage over the men in order to get her mission accomplished.

Now the men plan out the easiest way to get into an extremely secure government facility, which is calling for a 999 (code for an officer being shot on the police scanner). A majority of officers in the area will respond to the location of the 999 call, creating a diversion and the perfect opportunity for a major heist.

-No, the movie is not a cheap rip-off of THE DEPARTED.

TRIPLE 9 involves dirty cops, brutality and shocking deaths, but that doesn’t make it a cheap knock-off of THE DEPARTED. Can we not have any movies about bad cops anymore? Not to mention anything involving dirty police officers is going to be violent and is going to involve guns, so I don’t think it’s fair to make comparisons due to the already violent nature of the subject matter. Let’s be real, it’s hard to positively compare ANYTHING to THE DEPARTED, so starting off in that mindset from the beginning isn’t the best idea. It’s not fair to dismiss TRIPLE 9 off the bat because you are comparing it to one of Scorsese’s best films. TRIPLE 9 works on its own, and while not in the same league as THE DEPARTED, it is still an entertaining ride.

-No, the movie is not boring.

From the very beginning, director John Hillcoat set up the main rule of the movie, what we can call the GAME OF THRONES rule: no one is safe. And thanks to this, each scene, especially the robberies and chase scenes, are stressful and realistic. How can you call a movie boring when it has such edge of your seat thrills? One scene in particular, featuring Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie and their SWAT team clearing a house was INCREDIBLY well-shot. With the score pumping through the shot, it almost reminded me of something you would see in SICARIO, one of my favorite movies from last year. Each of these robbery and chase scenes left me on the edge of my seat and I had no idea what was going to come next. I just hoped Kate Winslet was going to make it out alive…

-Yes, Kate Winslet is everything (not a response to a criticism, just a comment from her biggest fan)

No, the fact I am a diehard Kate Winslet fan had no impact on my enjoyment of the movie. I like HER in everything, but not necessarily the movie. For instance, MOVIE 43 and A LITTLE CHAOS were not my favorites. But TRIPLE 9 gave Kate another chance to flex her acting muscle and play a baddie. Though instead of squaring off against Tris in a dystopian future (DIVERGENT), she was having people murdered with a flick of her well-manicured fingers. Not only that, she once again showed off her talent at accents. Honestly, had I disliked TRIPLE 9, I would still give it props for amazing, GIFable moments like this:

So yeah, unlike many of my colleagues, I thought TRIPLE 9 is an edge of your seat thrill ride that is just as entertaining as it is stressful. Hopefully you will walk out of the theater like me, happy you ventured to the movies and perhaps taking a quick look at the back seat of your car before stepping inside

My Review: B

LAUREN BRADSHAW grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area and can be reached at flickchickdc@gmail.com