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Film / Triple 9

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The code on the street is never black and white.

Triple 9 is a 2016 American crime thriller film directed by John Hillcoat and starring Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr., Norman Reedus, Michael K. Williams, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, and Kate Winslet.

A crew of criminals and corrupt cops in Atlanta are strong-armed by Irinia, the wife of a Russian-Jewish mob boss, into stealing data from a secure government building. The job is considered impossible, until one of the crew suggests killing a cop (a "999" in Atlanta Police radio code) to distract the rest of the force from the scene of the real crime. Marcus nominates his new partner, Chris Allen, to be the unsuspecting victim, but when Allen survives the attack, the entire plan is put at risk.

The movie features examples of:

  • Bank Robbery: The opening sequence shows the crew performing one in order to retrieve a safe deposit box for Irina.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Russell.
  • Bound and Gagged: The unfortunate couple in the boot of Irina's car at the start of the movie. Irina is not a woman to be messed with.
  • Brainless Beauty: Irina's sister Elena. Irina even comments that her sister is not very smart, but extremely good-looking, and that can make up for a lot of other deficits in today's society. Elena blindly follows all Irina's orders, even when they concern her son.
  • Casting Gag: In one scene, a road sign proclaiming "ZOMBIES AHEAD" can be seen, a reference to The Walking Dead, which stars Norman Reedus.
  • The Caper: The film opens with the crew knocking over a bank to steal a safety deposit box. A large chunk of the latter part of the film is devoted to them planning and then executing a heist on a Homeland Security safe building.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Russell gets into his car and one of Irina's mooks rises from the backseat and wraps a plastic bag over his head. Later, Franco gets in car at the hospital and sees Jeffrey's tie hanging from his rear view mirror. He then looks in the mirror and sees Jeffrey in the backseat holding a gun on him.
  • Dead Man Honking: When the gang are meeting to discuss Irina's offer, Russel's car rolls slowly round the corner, hits the wall, and stops. The horn starts blaring. When the door is opened, the gang finds a mortally wounded Russell slumped forward on the wheel.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Irina declares that the only reason she doesn’t have Michael killed is her fondness for her nephew, who is Michael's son.
  • Dirty Cops: Marcus and Franco.
  • Explosive Leash: Michael attaches bombs to two of the guards in the Homeland Security building to ensure the cooperation of them and the rest of the guards. He blows the ankle of one them to show he is not bluffing.
  • External Combustion: Michael kills Irina with a bomb disguised as a gift for his son.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Russell and Michael are ex-navy SEALs. On watching the video of the bank robbery, one of the cops comments that these guys have had tactical training.
  • Last Breath Bullet: Gabe is dying when he draws his gun and uses it to shoot Marcus; an action that gets him shot by Chris, who doesn't realize Gabe was saving his life.
  • The Mafiya: Irina's husband is a Jewish-Russian Mafia boss.
  • Mercy Kill: Russell is wounded so badly that Michael has to put him out of his misery in front of Gabe.
  • Killer Cop: It's Franco who suggests the 999 and who later kills Michael and steals the money from the main heist.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Once she has what she wants, Irina drops all pretenses and bluntly calls Michael a "fucking monkey" to his face.
  • Punk in the Trunk: In Irina's Establishing Character Moment, one of her mooks summons her outside where he opens the boot of a car. Inside are a bloodied and battered man and woman, Bound and Gagged. The mook then hands Irina a plastic bag containing their teeth. It is never revealed what this pair did to displease Irina.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Irina has Russell tortured and mortally wounded to "convince" the crew to take the new job.
  • Title Drop: A "999" or "triple 9" is the police code for "officer down" and the title of the film.
  • We Need a Distraction: The gang decide they can pull the second heist is to create an 'triple 9' ('officer down') call. This will draw every available police unit to the scene of the call, and away from their intended target.