Some directors develop projects for years and then suddenly abandon them — John Hillcoat was once going to direct “The Revenant” with Christian Bale in the lead. Some directors just keep their scripts tucked away in the queue for the next viable moment — like John Hillcoat with cop drama “Triple 9.” In other words, you win some, you lose some, and some projects you just need to cut loose.
Originally a vehicle for Shia LaBeouf — Hillcoat and the young actor did the bootlegging drama “Lawless” instead — the Aussie director of “The Road” and “The Proposition” briefly paused the project, rethought it, and came roaring back with a crazy good ensemble cast that includes Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, and many more.
READ MORE: ‘Walking Dead’ Star Norman Reedus Joins ‘Triple Nine’
A crime thriller based on a Black List script from a few years back, “Triple 9” centers on a crew of dirty cops who have to manufacture a 999, police code for “officer down,” in order to pull off an impossible heist. Their plan is turned upside down when the unsuspecting rookie they set up to die foils the attack, triggering a breakneck, action-packed finale filled with double-crosses, greed, and revenge. Perhaps it’s a mix of “Training Day” with the visceral qualities of the sorely underseen and criminally underrated “Rampart.”
Clifton Collins, Jr., Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer, Aaron Paul, and Norman Reedus all co-star. Hillcoat’s longtime musical collaborators Nick Cave and Warren Ellis were originally pegged to score the movie, but the music duties have been traded for Trent Reznor collaborator Atticus Ross (“The Social Network,” “Gone Girl”) and you couldn’t have asked for a better replacement. Open Road originally had the movie pegged for a September 2015 release, but pushed the film will now open on February 19th. Watch the trailer below and be warned of f-bombs and some pretty gruesome footage.