Triple Frontier - 2019
Director(s): J.C. Chandor
Writer(s): J.C. Chandor and Mark Boal
Cinematography by: Roman Vasyanov
Editor(s): Ron Patane
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, Adria Arjona and Reynaldo Gallegos
I am a sucker for genre films that have a big cast - The Departed, Heat, Sin City to name a few - so when Netflix announced Triple Frontier, my interest was naturally peaked. An action film starring Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, and Charlie Hunnam the Second - add that to the fact that J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year) is directing and it is "free" on Netflix? What is not to love about that. The film dropped yesterday, and I had a blast, let's talk about it.
The story follows a group of retired special forces soldiers, as they struggle to have a successful career after the military. Santiago (Issac) has been working as a consultant for the Colombian government trying to track down a drug kingpin. When he gains intel of the safehouse of the kingpin, he decides to recruit his special forces friends. The mission, kill the kingpin and keep all the money they can carry out of the country. Unfortunately, things don't go the way they planned. Chandor and Boal's screenplay works because they make you care about the group far before they are ever put in danger. The report and the banter of the friends feel natural, and you can tell that their friendship was forged through rough times during combat. It doesn't come across as a "bro-bro" relationship, as it is brotherly love and respect they have for one another.
The story as well takes a few turns that I was not expecting coming into the film, as it is more character focused than action orientated. Throughout the robbery the weight of their past missions and the killings they are forced to make during the robbery start to take a toll on the group, and it causes inner conflict. You can see the reality of how these acts change a person on their faces and body language. They are not mindless killing machines. I appreciated this direction as it made for a refreshing viewing. That is not to say that the action aspect was lacking, as the opening sequence of the film was fast paced and well executed. Chandor behind the camera framed the action in a way that the audience is never lost within the scope and are fully aware of the stakes at play.
The entire cast plays to their strengths, but Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck carry the film. Isaac’s emotional turmoil is a mixture of feeling responsible for both his crew since he brought them down there and the desire to finally catching the kingpin he had been tracking for three years. His internal rage of feeling as if the government and society kicked him and his crew to the curb lifts the motivation of the robbery. Affleck the only reason he agrees to come down is that he is dealing with the economic weight of two households due to a divorce and a dead-end job as a realtor. The past missions haunt him, and during the botched robbery you can see that he should not have come down with the crew. The entire cast has incredible chemistry, and the casting of Hunnam and Hedlund was perfect.
Triple Frontier is a solid action film, anchored by the emotional weight of the character involved. The chemistry of the cast makes it easy for the audience to root for their success and feel the tension created when they are in danger of making it out alive. While it never reaches the heights of the best movies of the action genre, it still makes for a great watch at home to kill time.
Triple Frontier is a Streamer!
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