Jun 25, 2023
Mohib Beg Mirza, Ansh Beg Mirza, Mirza Rakshanda Khan
In the opening credits of writer/director Mirzamlk's film, Triple Cross we get to see some hyperstylised visuals which seem to promise a slick, modern thriller filled with guns, intrigue and smoke – lots of smoke. The credits roll as images of the three main characters are displayed and held, either staring intently into the camera or holding a pose that is presumably deemed to be cool, or mysterious, or exciting in whatever strange, bizarro world we seem to have stumbled into. For a film with only three real characters the credits take an incredibly long time to get through, but as we'll find out, this is only a gentle introduction into the vast emptiness and repetition of the rest of the film.
Once we are into the movie proper, we find that the 'story' is split into chapters with each scene given a banal heading that supposedly helps us to understand what it's all about. Generally these chapter headings add nothing, but actually, when every scene takes place in the same empty, black space, with the same effusive smoke bubbling up from God knows where – constantly, and the same lighting options of full brightness straight on, or full brightness from behind are all we've got to choose from, the headings can sometimes be useful to differentiate one part of the film from the other.
Despite the film being called Triple Cross, which you'd think would suggest lots of twists and turns and wiliness going on, there is literally no story to speak of in this lengthy two hour marathon. The characters never get properly introduced, with only one member – the henchwoman (Khan) – actually getting a name-check as far as I can remember, and the audience's guess as to what's actually going on is as good as anyone else's, especially the writer's.
It seems that one guy (Ansh Beg Mirza) who I'll call Buzzcut on account of his hairstyle, has been hired to kill another guy (Mohib Beg Mirza), who I'll call Curtains due to the flowing locks which frame his face, and the whole film revolves around the stand-off which occurs when the two mercenaries meet. If you want any explanation or backstory as to why this is happening though – tough.
This is literally the extent of what's going on in Triple Cross and even if you think you like the look of the slow-mo visual style and the over-dubbed hyper design of the sound effects, there is just no way that playing these things constantly on repeat can sustain a two hour film – and it doesn't. Very soon the constant crashing of thunder (in the foreground), the same single synth chord, the one and only drum beat and the replay of every single action shot from three or four different angles, will let the viewer know that what they are watching is an empty, vacuous, void and that the whole production is the epitome of style over substance.
Add into all this the fact that everyone's talking in metaphor and that some scenes are literally up to fifteen minutes of the same shots and VFX on repeat, especially the matchstick and final shoot-out scenes, it's difficult to think of anyone who would be able to sit down and watch this for its entire runtime. Anything that actually happens could have been wrapped up in twenty minutes but Mirzamlk and their crew want you to spend two hours on this nonsense. Two Hours! Don't.