“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Temptation, of course, takes many forms, but for this
tight-knit group of Atlanta cops, the temptation to take the easy
money was just too great. All
they would have to do is provide some insider information from
within the police force about possible investigations regarding Mob
activity, particularly the Russian variety.
Maybe provide a little misdirection; perhaps instigate a
small amount of bureaucratic inefficiency.
That should be easy in a huge bureaucracy anyway, right?
Ah, but once they started taking the easy money, gradually,
the demands got harder. And
there was no negotiating; there was no backing out; no changing your
mind about your involvement. You
were all in, like it or not.
And so Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor) finds himself doing
things he didn’t join the force for:
illegal things, like failing to prosecute certain crimes by
looking the other way. That’s
guilt-inducing in itself. But
then the demand comes to actively plan and participate in the armed
robbery of a bank. It
seems there’s a certain “safety deposit” box in the vault of a
certain bank, the contents of which must be retrieved.
And so the cops plan the heist, utilizing law enforcement
technology to monitor when the response from the station comes, and
pilfering unmarked guns from the evidence storage room in order to
not leave a trail of evidence. And
it would have worked, too, except somebody got greedy, and grabbed a
cash bag, which contained a tell-tale red-dye cherry bomb, and
things just go downhill from there.
Kate Winslet takes a delicious turn as a cold, ruthless
Russian mob boss. Woody
Harrelson is the dissolute detective who can hardly function any
more, but still has unerring instinct.
Casey Affleck plays the rookie cop unfortunate enough to find
himself plunged into the snake pit.
The worst part is how the dirty cops plan a big heist with
the distraction being a “triple 9,” that is, a policeman shot in
the line of duty.
It’s gritty, it’s violent, it’s cynical, it’s
chaotic, it’s confusing, and it’s hard to watch.
But at least at the end, there’s one good guy left
standing, which is all we ever asked of the old shoot-‘em-up
Westerns at the OK Corral.