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They’ve made some of the best thrillers of the past six years. We list some of the best modern thriller directors currently working...
Director Guillermo del Toro once described suspense as being about the withholding of information: either a character knows something the audience doesn’t know, or the audience knows something the character doesn’t. That’s a deliciously simple way of describing something that some filmmakers often find difficult to achieve: keeping viewers on the edges of their seats.
The best thrillers leave us scanning the screen with anticipation. They invite us to guess what happens next, but then delight in thwarting expectations. We can all name the great thriller filmmakers of the past - Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed, Brian De Palma - but what about the current crop of directors? Here’s our pick of the filmmakers who’ve made some great modern thrillers over the past six years - that is, between the year 2010 and the present.
To think there was once a time when Jeremy Saulnier was seriously quitting the film business.
“To be honest," Saulner told us back in 2014, “Macon and I had really given up on our quest to break into the industry and become legitimate filmmakers. So what we were trying to do with Blue Ruin was archive our 20 year arc and bring it to a close. Really just revisit our stomping grounds and use locations that were near and dear to us and build a narrative out of that.”
Maybe this personal touch explains at least partly why Blue Ruin wound up getting so much attention in Cannes in 2013, signalling not the end of Saulnier and his star Macon Blair’s career, but a brand new chapter. But then again, there’s more than just hand-crafted intimacy in Saulnier’s revenge tale; there’s also its lean, minimal storytelling and the brilliance of its characterisation. Blue Ruin is such an effective thriller because its protagonist is so atypical: sad-eyed, inexperienced with guns, somewhat soft around the edges, Macon Blair’s central character is far from your typical righteous avenger.
Green Room, which emerged in the UK this year, explores a similar clash between very ordinary people and extraordinary violence. A young punk band shout about anarchy and aggression on stage, but they quickly find themselves out of their depth when they’re cornered by a group of bloodthirsty neo-Nazis. In Saulnier’s films, grubby, unseemly locations are matched by often beautiful locked-off shots. Familiar thriller trappings are contrasted by twists of fortune that are often shocking.
Here’s one of those directors who can pack an overwhelming sense of dread in a single image: in Sicario, his searing drug-war thriller from last year, it was the sight of tiny specks of dust falling in the light scything through a window. That single shot proved to be the calm before the storm, as Villeneuve unleashed a salvo of blood-curdling events: an attempted FBI raid on a building gone horribly awry. And this, I think, is the brilliance of Villeneuve’s direction, and why he’s so good at directing thrillers like Sicario or 2013’s superb Prisoners - he understands the rhythm of storytelling, and how scenes of quiet can generate almost unbearable tension.
Another case in point: the highway sequence in Sicario, where Emily Blunt’s FBI agent is stuck in a traffic jam outside one of the most violent cities in the world. Villeneueve makes us feel the stifling heat and the claustrophobia; something nasty’s going to happen, we know that - but it’s the sense of anticipation which makes for such an unforgettable scene.
Prisoners hews closely to the template of a modern mystery thriller, but it’s once again enriched by Villeneuve’s expert pacing and the performances he gets out of his actors. Hugh Jackman’s seldom been better as a father on the hunt for his missing child, while Jake Gyllenhaal mesmerises as a cop scarred by his own private traumas.
Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin may be the most effective psychological thriller of recent years. About the difficult relationship between a mother (Tilda Swinton) and her distant, possibly sociopathic son (Ezra Miller), Ramsay’s film is masterfully told from beginning to end - which is impressive, given that the source novel by Lionel Shriver is told via a series of letters. Ramsay takes the raw material from the book and crafts something cinematic and highly disturbing: a study of guilt, sorrow and recrimination. Tension bubbles even in casual conversations around the dinner table. Miller is an eerie, cold-eyed blank. Swinton is peerless. One scene, in which Swinton’s mother comes home in the dead of night, is unforgettable. Here’s hoping Ramsay returns with another feature film very soon.
Morten Tyldum - Headhunters
All kinds of thrillers have emerged from Scandinavia over the past few years, whether on the large or small screen or in book form. Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters is among the very best of them. The fast-paced and deliriously funny story of an art thief who steals a painting from the wrong guy, Headhunters launched Tyldum on an international stage - Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game followed, and the Sony sci-fi film Passengers is up next. It isn’t hard to see why, either: Headhunters shows off Tyldum’s mastery of pace and tone, as his pulp tale hurtles from intense chase scenes to laugh-out-loud black comedy.
Granted, Joel Edgerton’s better known as an actor, having turned in some superb performances in the likes of Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty and Warror. But with a single film - The Gift, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in - Edgerton established himself as a thriller filmmaker of real promise. About a successful, happily married couple whose lives are greatly affected by an old face from the husband’s past, The Gift is an engrossing, unsettling movie with superb performances from Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as well as Edgerton.
A riff on the ‘killer in our midst’ thrillers of the 80s and 90s - The Stepfather, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and so on - The Gift is all the more effective because of its restraint. We’re never quite sure who the villain of the piece is, at least at first - and Edgerton’s use of the camera leaves us wrong-footed at every turn. The world arguably needs more thrillers from Joel Edgerton.
If you haven’t seen The Gift yet, we’d urge you to track it down.
David Michod - Animal Kingdom
The criminals at play in this true-life crime thriller are all the more chilling because they’re so mundane - a bunch of low-level thieves, murderers and gangsters who prowl around the rougher parts of Melbourne, Australia. Writer-director David Michod spent years developing Animal Kingdom, and it was worth the effort: it’s an intense, engrossing film, for sure, but it’s also a believable glimpse of the worst of human nature. Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver play villains of different kinds; the latter a manipulative grandmother who looks over her brood of criminals, the former a spiteful thief. Crafting moments of incredible tension from simple exchanges, Michod launched himself as a formidable talent with this feature debut.
Affleck’s period drama-thriller Argo won all kinds of awards, but we’d argue his earlier thrillers were equally well made. Gone Baby Gone was a confident debut and an economical adaptation of Dennis LeHane’s novel. The Town, released in 2010, was a heist thriller that made the most of its Boston setting. One of its key scenes - a bank robbery in which the thieves wear a range of bizarre outfits, including a nun’s habit - is masterfully staged. With Affleck capable of teasing out great performances from his actors and staging effective set-pieces, it’s hardly surprising he’s so heavily involved in making at least one Batman movie for Warner - as well as playing the hero behind the mask.
The quiet, almost meditative tone of Anton Corbijn’s movies mean they aren’t necessarily to everyone’s taste, but they’re visually arresting and almost seductive in their rhythm and attention to detail. Already a celebrated photographer, Corbijn successfully crossed over into filmmaking with Control, an exquisitely-made drama about Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. Corbijn took a markedly different direction with The American, a thriller about an ageing contract killer (George Clooney) who hides out in a small Italian town west of Rome. Inevitably, trouble eventually comes calling.
Corbijn’s direction remains gripping because he doesn’t give us huge action scenes to puncture the tension. We can sense the capacity for violence coiled up beneath the hitman’s calm exterior, and Corbijn makes sure we only see rare flashes of that toughness - right up until the superbly-staged climax.
A Most Wanted Man, based on the novel by John le Carre, is a similarly astute study of an isolated yet fascinating character - in this instance, the world-weary German intelligence agent Gunther Bachmann, brilliantly played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tragically, the film proved to be one of the last before Hoffman’s death in 2014.
Mention Greengrass’ name, and the director’s frequent use of handheld cameras might immediately spring to mind. But time and again, Greengrass has proved a master of his own personal approach - you only have to look at the muddled, migraine-inducing films of his imitators to see how good a director Greengrass is. Part of the filmmakers’ visual language rather than a gimmick, Greengrass’ camera placement puts the viewer in the middle of the story, whether it’s an amnesiac agent on the run (his Bourne films) or on a hijacked aircraft (the harrowing United 93). While not a huge hit, Green Zone was an intense and intelligent thriller set in occupied Iraq. The acclaimed Captain Phillips, meanwhile, was a perfect showcase for Greengrass’ ability to fuse realism and suspense; the true story of a merchant vessel hijacked by Somali pirates, it is, to quote Greengrass himself, “a contemporary crime story.”
We can’t help thinking that, with a better marketing push behind it, Triple 9 could have been a much bigger hit when it appeared in cinemas earlier this year. It has a great cast - Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Anthony Mackie and Aaron Paul as a group of seasoned thieves, Kate Winslet cast against type as a gangland boss - and its heist plot rattles along like an express train.
Hillcoat seems to have the western genre pulsing through his veins, and he excels at creating worlds that are desolate and all-enveloping, whether his subjects are period pieces (The Proposition, Lawless) or post-apocalyptic dramas (The Road). Triple 9 sees Hillcoat make an urban western that is both classic noir and entirely contemporary; his use of real cops and residents around the film’s Atlanta location give his heightened story a grounding that is believable in the moment. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the scene in which Casey Affleck’s cop breaches a building while hunkered down behind a bullet-proof shield. Hillcoat places us right there in the scene with Affleck and the cops sneaking into the building behind him; we sense the claustrophobia and vulnerability.
Hillcoat explained to us in February that this sequence wasn’t initially written this way in the original script; it changed when the director and his team discovered how real-world cops protect themselves in real-world situations. In Triple 9, research and great filmmaking combine to make an unforgettably intense thriller.
Jim Mickel - Cold In July
Seemingly inspired by such neo-Noir thrillers as Red Rock West and Blood Simple, 2014‘s Cold In July is a genre gem from director Jim Mickle (Stake Land, We Are What We Are). Michael C Hall plays an ordinary guy in 80s America who shoots an intruder who breaks into his home, and becomes drawn into a moody conspiracy that takes in crooked cops, porn and a private eye (who's also keen pig-rearer) played by Don Johnson. Constantly shifting between tones, Mickel’s thriller refuses to stick to genre expectations. In one scene, after Hall shoots the burglar dead, Mickel’s camera lingers over the protagonist as he cleans up the blood and glass. It’s touches like these that make Cold In July far more than a typical thriller.
Mickel’s teaming up with Sylvester Stallone next; we’re intrigued to see what that partnership produces.
As a filmmaker, Scorsese needs no introduction. As a director of thrillers, he’s in a class of his own: from Taxi Driver via the febrile remake of Cape Fear to the sorely underrated Bringing Out The Dead, his films are full of suspense and the threat of violence. Shutter Island, based on the Dennis LeHane novel of the same name, saw Scorsese plunge eagerly into neo-noir territory. A murder mystery set in a mental institution on the titular Shutter Island, its atmosphere is thick with menace. Like a combination of Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man and Adrian Lyne’s cult classic Jacob’s Ladder, Shutter Island’s one of those stories where we never know who we can trust - even the protagonist, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
After the trial by fire that was Alien 3, David Fincher found his footing in the 90s with such hits as Seven and The Game. In an era where thrillers were in much greater abundance, from the middling to the very good, Seven in particular stood out as a genre classic: smartly written, disturbing, repulsive and yet captivating to look at all at once. Fincher’s affinity for weaving atmospheric thrillers continued into the 2010s, first with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a superb retelling of Stieg Larsson’s book which didn’t quite find the appreciative audience deserved, and Gone Girl, an even better movie which - thankfully - became a hit.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s novel (and adapted by the author herself), Gone Girl is both a gripping thriller and a thoroughly twisted relationship drama. Fincher’s mastery of the genre is all here: his millimetre-perfect composition, seamless touches of CGI and subtle yet effective uses of colour and shadow. While not a straight-up masterpiece like the period thriller Zodiac, Gone Girl is still a glossy, smart and blackly funny yarn in the Hitchcock tradition. If there’s one master of the modern thriller currently working, it has to be Fincher.
See related John Hillcoat interview: Triple 9, crime, fear of comic geniuses Jim Mickle interview: Cold In July, thrillers, Argento Jeremy Saulnier interview: Green Room, John Carpenter Jeremy Saulnier interview: making Blue Ruin & good thrillers Denis Villeneuve interview: Sicario, Kurosawa, sci-fi, ugly poetry Morten Tyldum interview: The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch, Headhunters Paul Greengrass interview: Captain Phillips & crime stories Movies Feature Ryan Lambie thrillers 15 Jun 2016 - 06:11 Cold In July Triple 9 Shutter Island Gone Girl David Fincher Martin Scorsese John Hillcoat Directors thrillers movies »
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
With its focus on the effects of exploration by white men on foreign lands, Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent will inevitably be compared to Werner Herzog’s stories of savage nature, and while Guerra is investigating some of Herzog’s most well trodden themes, the chaos of man exists in the background, while the unspoiled sit front and center here. »
- TFS Staff
At a film festival, an exciting new actor can become the talk of the town. But there are also moments when that star-is-born magnetism gathers around a performer who is already well-established. He has simply redefined himself — or, perhaps, fully defined himself for the first time. At Cannes this year, that’s happening with two actors whose madly buzzed-about performances place them at a newly elevated square one. The first is Shia Labeouf, who strikes a note of mesmerizing James Dean-as-millennial-wastrel authenticity in “American Honey,” Andrea Arnold’s extraordinary hand-held youthquake of a road movie. The second is Joel Edgerton, who has, of course, been a dynamic star on the rise for several years now — but when you watch his performance in Jeff Nichols’ delicate and original civil-rights drama, “Loving,” you feel as if you’re seeing a brand new actor. And that’s a sign of the kind »
- Owen Gleiberman
Harrison Query will adapt the script based on Gerald E. Kelly's book which is set from 1969 to 1976. Kelly is a former cop and the story deals with the theft of 500 pounds of narcotics from the NYPD's Property Clerk's office - including heroin seized during the famed 'French Connection' case.
A Special Investigations Unit detective reportedly replaced suitcases of drugs with flour during various visits to the Property Room over three years and died under suspicious circumstances in 1972. Kelly left the force in 1978.
Source: Variety »
- Garth Franklin
John Hillcoat isn’t done with the crime genre yet. The director behind The Proposition, Lawless, and Triple 9 will direct Honor for Sale, a true story about corruption and drugs that takes place between 1969 to 1976. In the 1970s, a total of 500 pounds of narcotics were stolen from the NYPD’s Property Clerk Office, and Hillcoat is going to show […]
The post John Hillcoat Is Returning to the Crime Genre Again With ‘Honor for Sale’ appeared first on /Film. »
- Jack Giroux
John Hillcoat has been given a lot of goodwill because of his undeniable talent, but it can’t be said he’s made the most of it. “The Road” received mixed reviews, “Lawless” brought together a terrific cast for a mostly rote gangster flick, and “Triple 9” also lined up one helluva ensemble, only to squander it on […]
The post John Hillcoat To Direct Another Corrupt Cop Drama With ‘Honor For Sale’ appeared first on The Playlist. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Producers have tapped Harrison Query to adapt the script, based on Gerald E. Kelly’s book “Honor for Sale: The Darkest Chapter in the History of New York’s Finest.” Kelly, a former police officer, recounts the years from 1969 to 1976 and the theft of 500 pounds of narcotics from the NYPD’s Property Clerk’s office — including some of the heroin seized during the famed “French Connection” case.
Kelly story focuses on a Special Investigations Unit detective who replaced suitcases of drugs with flour during various visits to the Property Room over three years and died under suspicious circumstances in 1972 as investigations into the Siu were getting underway. »
- Dave McNary
Cell stars John Cusack, Samuel L Jackson and Isabel Fuhrman, and it tells the story of a strange signal that goes out across mobile phone networks, that consequently turns people into zombie-like savages.
We’ve got a trailer for the film and synopsis here, so as tradition dictates, we shall do them in turn.
And here’s the synopsis…
See Also: Pre-order Triple 9 via Amazon Us or Amazon UK
Directed by acclaimed director John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless), the film features an all-star cast including Kate Winslet (The Dressmaker), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games), Casey Affleck (The Finest Hours), Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War), Aaron Paul (Eye In The Sky) and Gal Gadot (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
Synopsis: In Triple 9, a crew of dirty cops is blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a virtually impossible heist. The only way to pull it off is to manufacture a 999, police code for “officer down”. Their plan is turned upside down when the unsuspecting rookie they set up to die foils the attack, »
- Scott J. Davis
We can never get too much Indy, right?
Well, that’s a good thing because Disney just announced another Indiana Jones installment coming from both director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford, who showed off his action-adventure muscle once again in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement, “Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019. It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor, and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”
The first Indiana Jones romp, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, premiered in 1981 and the series collectively has brought in almost $1 billion in North America alone. (No wonder they want to get back on the horse!)
Details are zero at this point, »
- Harker Jones
Erik Lomis, president of distribution at the Weinstein Co. for the past five years, is leaving the company for a new post at Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Picture.
The departure was confirmed Thursday by David Glasser, chief operating officer, who said Lomis is headed to another job.
“He got a great offer and we wish him the best,” Glasser said. “He did a great job for us.”
Lomis’ new post at Annapurna, first reported by Deadline, will include distribution duties
Lomis, who was president of distribution at MGM between 2000 and 2005, came on board at TWC in 2011. He saw major successes from “The Artist,” which won the Oscar for best picture in 2012, and from “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “Django Unchained” in 2013 and “The Imitation Game” in 2014.
- Dave McNary
Australian director John Hillcoat has made a name for himself with unforgiving characters committing brutal violence amid some pretty bleak environments. With The Proposition and Lawless, he brought period-set grit to the screen and made the future even less appealing in The Road. The latest from Hillcoat is Triple 9, and it's the director's first opus of violence set in modern day. This fact doesn't keep the violence from being as cold-blooded as the director can make it nor the characters from being their typical, Hillcoat shade of gray. Triple 9 is a relentless look at the lengths to which evil men and women will go, and, though it never fulfills the hope of transcending the action genre, it satisfies the hunger for adult-driven entertainment with an edge. Just don't get attached to anyone. Working from a screenplay by Matt Cook, Triple 9 centers on those doing good and bad in Atlanta, »
- Jeremy Kirk
John Hillcoat is going to make a great film someday. Each of his last three films (Lawless, The Road, The Proposition) have skirted this quality to various degrees, bringing together top-tier casts, evocatively oppressive atmospheres, and muddied, morally-compromised perspectives, but they’ve never quite coalesced into something spectacular. Triple 9 is Hillcoat’s latest trip into the gray, and despite a pedigree of able performers in front of the camera, it’s an exhaustively cynical, morally-empty crime film that has neither the pacing to work as a B-film or the loftier ideas in place to work as a serious investigation of corruption.
Triple 9 centers on a group of various law enforcement members – detectives, police officers, special operations, etc. – who have been backed into a pact with the sadistic Russian Jewish mafia to rob federal banks. They orchestrate these heists with an exacting set of rules and nonlethal force (sort »
- Michael Snydel
Australian director John Hillcoat’s got four features under his belt now, and I’m a massive fan of the previous three. All four of them share a few things, most prominently brutality and the darker side of humanity. What his latest film Triple 9 is noticeably different for is a modern setting; both The Proposition and Lawless are tales of the past and The Road is set in the bleak, bleak future. I wasn’t sure how his style would translate to a current story, but the short version is that it’s gritty, dark, and intense in ways his other films couldn’t capture. This is where Heat and Training Day meets The Town, and all of those films are better as a whole. Don’t count it out though.
The cast is…insane. So many great actors tossed into one story with an equal many characters is bound to be complex, »
- Mike Hassler
The Russians Are Coming: Hillcoat Juggles Strands in Sprawling Heist Thriller
About half way into John Hillcoat’s impressively staged heist thriller Triple 9, it becomes apparent the audience won’t be allowed to develop any sort of sympathy for any of its various characters, a pity considering the potentially rich subtext. Rather than lob gobs of exposition our way, Matt Cook’s screenplay attempts to streamline characterization into the full-tilt madness of criminal legacies and the corresponding demise gilding the future of the powerful and greedy. At times, this congeals into intoxicatingly energetic and disturbingly violent moments of survival play, but whenever the narrative returns to moments of static calm the film has a nagging sense of perfunctory ornamentation, it’s more important elements given short shrift in an effort to balance a variety of odds and ends.
Five masked men storm an Atlanta bank, successfully removing the contents »
- Nicholas Bell
John Hillcoat has a new film opening in theaters this weekend. The reviews for the director’s crime thriller, Triple 9, have been somewhat mixed, but any fan of Hillcoat’s, especially admirers of Lawless, will most likely enjoy his latest picture. To celebrate the release, Mondo has made some striking posters for a few of his previous film, and […]
- Jack Giroux
It’s not too often John Hillcoat steps behind the camera to direct, but when he does, it’s worth standing up and taking notice. Over the past decade the Australian writer-director has helmed The Proposition, transformed Cormac McCarthy’s The Road into a cinematic gem, and directed a star-studded cast in Lawless.
Fast forward to 2016 and Hillcoat is serving up an exercise in nerve-shredding tension with Triple 9, the ensemble crime caper that’s barreling down on a theatrical release. To celebrate the occasion, We Got This Covered has one t-shirt and a signed poster to give away to one lucky reader. The poster itself has been signed by both the director and his enviable cast, including Casey Affleck, Norman Reedus, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Clifton Collins Jr..
To be in with a chance of winning our Triple 9 prize pack, simply subscribe to We Got »
- Michael Briers
“Triple 9” is the latest film from John Hillcoat, the Australian director perhaps best known for a string of films that approach familiar genres in new ways. “The Proposition” is an Australian western; “The Road” is a literary post-apocalyptic tale; and “Lawless” tackles the gangster genre. Like those films, “Triple 9” finds the director adding his own spin to a well known template— it's a cop movie with a modern noir twist. Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Clifton Collins, Jr., Teresa Palmer and Gal Gadot comprise an ensemble for a film tellling the tale of a group of crooked cops who embark on a dangerous bank heist on behalf of Russian gangsters. Read More: Review: John Hillcoat's 'Triple 9' Starring Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie & Kate Winslet "Triple 9" debuts a partnership between Hillcoat and Atticus Ross, »
- Russ Fischer
Arriving by way of Open Road Films, Triple 9 stands as Hillcoat’s first foray behind the lens since 2012’s Lawless, and the director has continued his streak of assembling a who’s who of Hollywood talent. At the core of the actioner is Casey Affleck’s rookie cop Chris Allen, who is pulled into an illicit masterplan involving blood, greed and deceit when his precinct is bribed by the Russian mafia.
Scrambling for options, the only way to pull off the seemingly impossible heist is to execute a Triple 9 (police jargon for Officer Down) in order to stage a distraction on the other end of town. But when the chips come down, the corrupt group find themselves questioning »
- Michael Briers
John Hillcoat has built a career out of vivisecting archetypal models of masculinity. His films are all spiritual Westerns set just about anywhere other than the sun-scorched American frontier, sweat-stained epics of rough-and-tumble outlaws in dire straits. They radiate a very precise kind of low, rumbling intensity that’s occasionally punctuated – and accentuated – by ruthless explosions of ultra-violence so shockingly brutal as to induce whiplash.
With Triple 9, his sixth and potentially best film since The Proposition, there’s no longer any question that Hillcoat is a master at crafting these surly, male-dominated dramas. He’s a gifted director, clearly inspired by the work of Martin Scorsese (especially Goodfellas) and Michael Mann (especially Heat), but assured enough to mount multiple sequences that take big cinematic risks and work like gangbusters because of them.
And yet, too many of his films are also marred by narrative confusion and sagging midsections – Hillcoat »
- Isaac Feldberg
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