STARRING: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona, Reynaldo Gallegos, Hakeemshady Mohamed, Madeline Wary and Sheila Vand
Five former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the first time in their prestigious careers these unsung heroes undertake this dangerous mission for self instead of country. But when events take an unexpected turn and threaten to spiral out of control, their skills, their loyalties and their morals are pushed to a breaking point in an epic battle for survival.
Triple Frontier focuses on Santiago ‘Pope’ Garcia, who works as a private military advisor in Colombia, travelling to the US to recruit his old Delta Force friends to perform legitimate reconnaissance on the whereabouts of a drug lord named Lorea. Pope disguises it under the pretence that they are working for the Colombian government went infact Pope has a different agenda; it’s believed that Lorea lives in a safehouse in the jungle along with all of his cash as he doesn’t trust the banks and Pope believes that they should go in and take the drug lord out and take the cash for themselves.
Triple Frontier is a heist-western hybrid film directed by J.C Chandor. The film introduces us to former members of a particular Delta Squad, who are still attempting to adapt to life after serving their country. We follow Santiago ‘Pope’ Garcia returning to the United States to meet his friends and offer them a proposition: to do some recon down in Colombia on the supposed whereabouts of a drug lord named Lorea who allegedly has all his money stored there and in return receive $17,000 for their efforts. Once they gather the intel Pope suggests a different idea rather than passing it along to the Colombian government….break into the safehouse, take out Lorea and take the money for themselves. As the temptation leads them to take on a mission to benefit themselves rather than country, their actions test their skills, morals and willingness to survive.
J.C Chandor is a director whose work I’ve enjoyed previously (two, in my opinion, rather underrated films in All Is Lost and A Most Violent Year) and here I thought he done a great job with his direction, especially with the actual heist sequence. Cinematographer Roman Vasyanov seems to have a great eye working in military-style films (previous credits include Fury and The Wall) and his eye is very beneficial to Triple Frontier, with some really good close-up shots and sweeping landscape shots that are beautiful to look at here. The film focuses on a group of men who have given everything for their country and in return, they’re barely staying afloat. We have brothers William ‘Ironhead’ Miller and Ben Miller, one is a motivational speaker and the other an MMA fighter, Francisco ‘Catfish’ Morales, a pilot who’s lost his license due to being busted for running cocaine and the final piece of the team and the most developed character of the squad is Tom ‘Redfly’ Davis, a big man whose clearly beaten down by civilian life, struggling to sell not-so-glamarous condos in Florida. Once the heist takes place, the theme of Greed takes centre-stage of the story, as you wonder what morals you are willing to compromise once there’s a lot of money on the line. The performances from the ensemble are really good here, their interactions feel authentic and you can believe that these men have known each other for years.
The film in the second half takes this almost western genre approach in how it slows the pace down after the heist, leading to the life-and-death scenarios the group face around the next corner and with the sacrifices they have to make, is the consequences for their heist actually worth it in the end? In theory it sounds like it should make for compelling viewing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some viewers switch off towards the final act due to the pace of the film. While the trailers may make you believe that the film will be action packed, the action sequences are spread out from the heist to the final acts conclusion. The script from Chandor and Mark Boal I thought was fine, though it doesn’t make itself stand out as anything special from similar heist films, especially since the characters themselves outside of Oscar Isaac’s Pope and Ben Affleck’s Tom they’re not incredibly fleshed out.
Netflix’s Triple Frontier is a pleasant surprise, considering the negative reaction from some critics and audiences. I think J.C Chandor directed the film well, the cinematography from Roman Vasyanov is a particular highlight and, whilst I agree the characters aren’t particularly fleshed out well, I enjoyed the performances amongst Isaac, Affleck, Hunnam, Hedlund and Pascal, as well as how the film played around with the theme of greed. 7/10