Cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund
Director: J.C. Chandor
Netflix may have a huge library of movies that they make, but I can’t really name a great action-heist movie at their disposal. With Triple Frontier, Netflix now has a legitimate claim that they’ve released one. With a stacked cast, an interesting premise, and some of the most well-planned and methodical action scenes of the year, Triple Frontier provides Netflix with another heart-pounding addition to their catalog and shows us that Netflix can provide both exciting popcorn movies as well as some of the awards contenders that they’ve put out the last couple of years.
The film follows Santiago “Pope” Garcia (Isaac), a former American soldier who now works in Colombia hunting down drug lords and trying to make the country safer. When he finally tracks down the gangster he’s been trying to capture for the last two years, he knows the only way to bring peace to the region is to bring his former team to the country and finish the drug lord off themselves and bring his stored cash back to make their lives better. Naturally, the plan doesn’t go how they imagine it and they face obstacles that make their job significantly harder. Whether or not these soldiers accomplish their goal and get back with all this money becomes the central premise of the plot for most of the 125 minute runtime. When you have a cast that has a long history of holding down other action movies, naturally when you put them all together you’re going to have a basic outline of success. Guys like Isaac and Hunnam have made themselves cornerstones of very successful films and franchise and it’s no surprise that once again their talents can be successfully used again. I liked the decision to use Affleck’s character in more of an intelligence-type role instead one of the tougher soldiers since I don’t normally associate Affleck with action roles. That being said, the main area where the movie succeeds is with the way it depicts how greed can corrupt even the strongest of wills. Triple Frontier isn’t a traditional action movie as it’s much slower and not focused on having as many shootouts as possible. It spends most of the time looking into the inner motivations of the characters and weighing the risks with the potential rewards of the mission. It’s almost like if Lord of the Flies took place in a jungle with seasoned military veterans and showed us just what happens when you combine pressure, greed, international influence, and military operations to create a recipe of destruction and disaster along the way. This may not appeal to more mainstream audiences, but if you’re looking for something a little slower and planned out, then Triple Frontier may be the type of movie you’ve been missing out on. The fact that it’s on Netflix giving people much easier access to this type of movie means you won’t have to look hard to find the type of action and suspense that you’ve been searching for.
Overall, Triple Frontier feels like a true military operation with its character development and its pacing. It doesn’t go in and kill everything in sight, but it’s well-planned, calculated, and thinks about the consequences before moving forward. Most movies can easily define who the bad guys and good guys are, but the moral ambiguity of these characters and their decisions helps Triple Frontier rise above the genre and present itself as one of the better Netflix releases this year. Looking at Chandor’s previous movies, it’s not a surprise that the script is tight and well-configured and I hope that we see more scripts like this in the future.
Overall Score: 7.5/10