*** out of ****
In this crime thriller, a team of slick bank robbers plan to distract law enforcement by killing a police officer, which will allow them to pull off a big heist. Two of the robber (Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins Jr.) actually are cops. Another member of the gang (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is blackmailed into doing the heist by a ruthless Russian mob boss (a effective Kate Winslet!). The good cop with a target on his back is played by Casey Affleck, and Woody Harrelson is the burnt out cop trying to bring the robbers to justice.
Triple 9 is overstuffed with characters, but director John Hillcoat, the filmmaker behind the excellent 2005 western The Proposition, is able to deliver clear archetypes. The film is complicated but never confusing, and because all the actors are recognizable and that there isn't just one or two major stars, you don't really know which characters will come out alive. That clever casting helps generate suspense. And the performances are all top-notch. It also helps that the action scenes are also very well done.