It's the best crime thriller I've seen since Ben Affleck's The Town. (Oddly enough, Triple 9 star's Affleck's brother Casey.) Both movies have strong sense of place — in The Town it was Boston; in Triple 9 it's a vividly evoked Atlanta.
Starting with a pulse-pounding bank heist that goes off the rails, Triple 9 is tremendously compelling and never lets up. It is also relentlessly dark and sordid. The title is a police code for "officer down" and this is a movie which is knee deep in corrupt cops.
This is the first feature credit for writer Matt Cook, who has done an ace job. The film is magnificently directed by Aussie John Hillcoat who previously distinguished himself with Lawless.
The cast of Triple 9 is rather amazing. Casey Affleck is quietly convincing, Aaron Paul plays pretty much the same character he played in Breaking Bad, and Woody Harrelson seems to be in competition with Nic Cage's character in Bad Lieutenant.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, who has previously specialised in admirable and upright characters who suffer nobly here goes off in a whole new direction as a hardnosed crook. And Kate Winslet is stunning in an equally unusual role as a viciously ruthless Jewish-Russian mob boss.
The ending doesn't quite live up to the rest of this dazzling film (how often I find myself saying that), but if you're in the market for a compelling, tough crime movie you mustn't miss it.
(Image credits: I was spoiled for choice by the nice selection of posters at Imp Awards.)