Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director: John Hillcoat
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet
Release Year: 2016
It is easy to get overwhelmed with the abundance of A-list actors in this ensemble cast but it quickly tires you down with its undercooked run-of-the-mill script. One might look at it as a darker and brooder version of the superior ‘The Town’ but I don’t think the makers were able to put the pieces of their puzzle together neither interestingly nor in totality. While the intention was to have a realistic depiction of dirty cops, junkies, heists and police reactions, every single character is hell bent on being heroic without a purpose and not a care for their dear lives – which is the most unrealistic one could see.
999 for the uninitiated is a police code for ‘officer down, all units respond’. A group of mercenaries and dirty cops – Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Marcus (Anthony Mackie), Gabe (Aaron Paul) and Russell (Norman Reedus) are to pull off a job partly due to money and a hold the Russian mafia led by mob boss wife Irina (Kate Winslet) has on Michael through his wife Elena (Gal Gadot) and son Felix. The investigators led by Jeffrey (Woody Harrelson) stumble on to a solid lead that could crack open the investigation while Chris (Casey Affleck) who joined recently is taken for a ride by Marcus with a devious intention.
Couple of questions first – it is incomprehensible how each character convinces the other to do something risky and stupid with very little in return, above that is how the makers convinced each of these actors to do something just dull with so little in return. We are not just talking about the ones who are budding actors trying to make a mark like Anthonie Mackie or Aaron Paul – it has veterans like Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson. While Gal Gadot hardly has any role to play, Kate Winslet’s portrayal of a Russian mob boss is very B-grade. However it does have some good points like Harrelson’s portrayal of the semi-good cop until the last scene, the way the car backs up when Michael was lying on the ground, the first heist with the red gas overflowing the car or the way the plastic explosive cracks open a guard’s leg. They were inventive and well executed but hardly creates an impact on top of its dull background.
Heavily inspired by the superior ‘The Town’ but lacks the focus and a character to root for.