There is nothing about this film that's wrong, but also nothing in that's right. It’s a perfect example of how to make a movie--expertly shot and performed, but not very engaging. The story follows a preprogramed set of literary guidelines and doesn’t deviate from it. There is no depth to the story, nor interesting plot twists. If nothing else, it’s a great way for some of the performers try on new characters in a safe environment. Safe because this movie will be easily forgotten.
The production quality and setting are perfect for the gritty nature of the story. It maximizes the tense nature of some of the shots with some finely crafted composition of character and scene elements. They used the Steadicam for its intended purpose: to give running action scenes a life of their own. I deeply respect them not going overboard with its use.
Outstanding performances come from Kate Winslet (Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) showing off her range, nothing surprising. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Children of Men) captured the spirit of the character, but there was a natural feel to him. His character was complex he was cold and also had a sympathetic aspect, but they canceled each other out. Although well performed, I think on Paper the character didn’t have much depth. Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) has really solidified his image as a hero. It was hard to watch him as dirty cop. He really captures the regret at double-crossing a fellow officer.
The Chris Allen character, played by Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, The Finest Hours) is the kiss of death for police. He has to call a 999 code (officer down) twice in two days. If I was partnered up with him, I would fear for my life.
This is a perfect movie to demonstrate how a movie can be perfectly shot and well performed, but if the story doesn’t have depth, it will be hollow. “Triple 9” is police code means that an officer is down. This movie has now made Triple 9 the code for a movie is down.
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