(director: John Hillcoat; screenwriter: Matt Cook; cinematographer: Nicolas Karakatsanis; editor: Dylan Tichenor; music: Atticus Ross, Claudia Sarne, Leopold Ross, Bobby Krlic; cast: Casey Affleck (Chris Allen), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Michael Atwood), Anthony Mackie (Marcus Belmont), Aaron Paul (Gabe Welch ), Clifton Collins Jr (Franco Rodriguez), Norman Reedus (Russell Welch), Teresa Palmer (Michelle Allen), Michael K. Williams (Sweet Pea), Gal Gadot (Elena Vlaslov), Woody Harrelson (Jeffrey Allen), Kate Winslet (Irina Vlaslov, Michelle Ang (Trina Ling) Terence Rosemore (Joshua Park), E. Roger Mitchell (Smith); Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Keith Redmon, Brad Dorros, Marc Butan, Anthony Katagas, Christopher Woodrow, John Hillcoat; Open Road Films; 2016)

A complex heist thriller involving crooked cops and the Israeli-Russian mob.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A complex heist thriller involving crooked cops and the Israeli-Russian mob. It’s helmed with grit by Australian director John Hillcoat (“Lawless”/”The Proposition”) and tautly written with double-crosses and a high body count by Matt Cook. The title is a term for “officer down.” It’s set in the mean streets of Atlanta. Rookie Atlanta task force cop Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) tries to do his job, working to stop crime among Latino gangs. When task force cops Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul) and his brother Russell Welch (Norman Reedus) are blackmailed by the Russian mob’s spokesperson, Irina (Kate Winslet), whose kosher butcher mobster hubby is in prison, to get them another file or else, the dirty cop duo fight back on their own terms. They take Chris for a chump, and decide to frame him for the bank job and kill him to distract the law. But Chris lives, and the plot becomes muddled (it takes quite an effort to figure out what is happening) as Chris is determined to seek justice against all the villains. But his only help is from his intense, inebriated, rogue uncle, Detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson). He counsels the rookie to “Out-monster the monster.” Meanwhile heads get blown off and chaos is rampant. The crooked task force working with the Welch boys consist of the ex-military special forces soldiers Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), and Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.). This group botched the bloody bank robbery but escaped after a highway shoot-out with police, and are now desperate. The twisty urban thriller is fast paced, mounted with lots of action, but whose characters are portrayed as paper thin. It reduces the streets of Atlanta into a war zone,.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”