Bullets fly on the Atlanta freeway as armed thieves make their getaway following a bank robbery in broad daylight. Unhappy with the results, ruthless gangster Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet) orders the men to pull off another job. One member of the team is Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), a crooked cop who gets saddled with Chris Allen (Casey Affleck), his new but incorruptible police partner. As Belmont and his cohorts lay the groundwork for the heist, they come up with a devious plan to use Allen as their pawn.
A film that has the cast that this one has does not come often, featuring the likes of Kate Winslet, Norman Reedus, and Aaron Paul just to name a few. This fact alone earned it my interest and luckily I was able to get tickets to an advanced screening. The story here involves a straight arrow, Atlanta rookie detective named Chris Allen (Affleck) who is forced to team up with a crooked cop named Marcus Belmont (Mackie). What Allen doesn’t know is that Belmont is part of a team of bank robbers currently working for the Russian mob led by Irina Vlaslov (Winslet). Unhappy with the team, she tasks them to perform another job. As Belmont and his cohorts, Michael Atwood (Ejiofor), Russel Welch (Reedus), Gabe Welch (Paul), and Jorge Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.) devise their plan, they decide to use Allen as their pawn. The first impression I got from this was of how dark it was. Everything appears dark, dirty, and grimy while the music was always tense and suspenseful which definitely went along with the film’s dark subject matter. This made the film very immersive as the constant sense of danger made you feel like you were there along with these criminals. The film was also very suspenseful despite being a little predictable. The characters were fun to watch (probably because of the actors themselves) despite all of them being superficial. It just seemed like we never really knew anything them other than the fact that Allen is related to Woody Harrelson’s Detective Jeffrey Allen. Maybe this is because of its great cast that it had to juggle a lot of characters. As superficial as the characters were, the story was as well. It seemed like it was also juggling a lot of subplots while never really exploring any of them with any kind of depth whatsoever. It was kind of hard to care about the bank robbers as we never really got a sense of what they were fighting for. The plot contained many twists and turns but the lack of depth did not give them any weight. Reedus and Paul are great actors but Russel and Gabe Welch served little purpose in the film and neither did Collins’ Rodriguez. The main characters here are both Allens, Belmont, Atwood, and Vlaslov. Affleck and Mackie were okay here but there stories didn’t really go anywhere. Harrelson was playing the same character he’s played many times but I still would have liked to have seen more of him despite his story not really going anywhere either. I just found it weird when I heard that Kate Winslet, a British actress, was playing a Russian mobster and after watching it, it felt weird as she just did not seem right for the role. Overall, this film had a great cast and a lot of style going for it but unfortunately its substance did not match.