Director: J. C. Chandor
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund, Adria Arjona
Release date: March 13th (Netflix) 2hr 5m
Triple Frontier is Netflix’s newest action/thriller that dropped this past week. It’s a heist movie which ultimately goes a bit deeper into a familiar premise: 5 special forces veterans band together to illegally take down a South American drug lord and steal his millions for themselves. Each of the main characters, played by Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal, and Garrett Hedlund, feel their personal lives unraveling in various ways and convince themselves they deserve the money as repayment for years of service to their country will little to nothing to show for it.
For comparison, their motivation feels very reminiscent of the reason why soldiers take over Alcatraz in the 90’s classic, The Rock (probably my favorite Michael Bay film). It’s a very believable and human scenario; a great way to pull the audience in and sympathize with the characters even though they are in reality committing serious crimes. The star power also helps.
The movie starts slow as it honestly feels like every other heist movie you’ve seen: one guy has an elaborate plan to steal a ton of money (here it’s Oscar Isaac) and gradually assembles his crack-shot team by convincing them the payout is more than worth the risk.
Be patient though as things get much more interesting the 2nd half of the film. The heist itself is a tense moment of the film for sure, however the ultimate focus is more centered on how they get the money out of the country afterwards. Of course, the plan goes spectacularly wrong, and keeps the film feeling more original as it changes from purely a heist movie into more of a survival film. Triple Frontier is in fact a reference to the area in South America where the characters find themselves.
This movie is all about its characters, as it puts a huge focus on examining human nature and the consequences of our actions…no matter how “pure” we convince ourselves our intentions are from the beginning. It’s a slippery slope that goes downhill fast, and in the end makes for a compelling journey.
All 5 of the main cast members give spectacular performances, further blurring the difference in quality you would expect to see between a theatrical release and a straight to streaming film. I spent a good portion of the film conflicted between rooting for the characters while at the same time reminding myself they were responsible for their own hardships. The films that are the most memorable are the ones that allow you to see both sides of the characters’ moral dilemma and Triple Frontier does an excellent job with this.
The cinematography is also well done, with countless shots of the countryside and various terrains that are simply gorgeous. Without going into detail, the ending says a lot about the stubbornness of human nature and teases the possibility of a sequel which I wouldn’t mind seeing.