Review - 'Triple Frontier'
There are few times where I’ve been depressed that a Netflix film is not presented in the theater, this is one of those times. Triple Frontier is a taught heist/survival film that boasts stellar cinematography and gripping action, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
Triple Frontier follows five retired squad-mates who take on an illegal mission to assassinate a drug lord deep in the jungles of South America.
The marketing for Triple Frontier advertised the film as dominantly a militaristic heist movie, and while there certainly is a heist, that’s only half of the story. There is a whole other section to this movie that really separates it from the rest of the pack. Triple Frontier becomes a survival story, and the initially un-likable and un-defined protagonists true colors are laid bare for all to see as things spin further and further out of control. It’s not too often that you have a movie start off on a fairly generic note with seemingly cardboard cut-out characters, only for it subvert your expectations half-way through. It’s a very clever trick that director J. C. Chandor pulled on me, and I love him for it.
Another thing that drives Triple Frontier are its pulse-pounding action beats and tense, suspenseful moments where the outcome is uncertain. The action is well-staged and the camera work does a great job of immersing the audience in the action while still making sure what is happening is clearly defined. The highlights involve a mad-dash heist sequence, a helicopter flight that dissolves into chaos and a break-neck car chase that starts in the jungle and culminates on the shores of the ocean.
It’s also worth mentioning that the cast is filled with familiar faces. Top-billed is Ben Affleck, who at best is a co-lead to Oscar Isaac. Ben Affleck does a good job, though I still don’t think he shows too much range here. Oscar Isaac, who I would actually classify as the main lead of the film, is more interesting and has a lot going on with his character. He is basically the man that gets everyone into this situation and has to directly deal with the consequences of his actions. Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pacal round out the rest of the team, and they each bring a slightly different flavor and chemistry to the group that makes for some interesting dynamics.
Overall, Triple Frontier is an engaging survival action film filled to the brim with palpable tension and enjoyable set-pieces. If this movie had just been an action picture I still would have been satisfied, but it has more on its mind than that and gave me deeper characters than I was expecting with full-grown arcs that come to a satisfying conclusion. Apart from a less-than-promising first act, Triple Frontier is a pleasant surprise that I wish I could have seen on a bigger screen.