“TRIPLE FRONTIER” is a high-tension heist film now streaming on Netflix starring Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, and Garrett Hedlund. The story follows a group of former special-forces operatives that decide to travel down to South America to steal millions of dollars from a cartel leader. What can go wrong? Now I love action movies and heist stories, so I was excited for this film on premise alone. Add to that a cast that feels extremely capable in the genre and this one had the recipe for success. Which I think it delivered on. I had a great time with this one and it was able to keep me invested from start-to-finish. The cast was something that had me intrigued but much to my surprise it was actually the structure of the narrative that had me hanging on from scene to scene. You can constantly feel things will go wrong for these guys and waiting for it to happen was naturally tense and it had me on the edge of my seat.
The focus was more on the suspense of the heist than it was on the action set-pieces. The overall curiosity of will they make it out or not was highly engaging. I was a fight for survival that appealed to me and it wove in some clever hurdles to keep their mission feeling unique and at times enjoyably unpredictable. The characters were thinly developed so despite a solid cast, there was no deep dive on their personalities. Where the familiar cast came into to play was in giving these otherwise cardboard characters substance to invest in simply through their performances. It’s your typical group of ex-soldiers. With your typical group relationship dynamics, but the cast without question elevated the material with their chemistry to make them likable enough to invest in.
The first-act introduces us to these men to give us a snapshot of their motivating factors. The various personality types are framed-up to fuel future decision making, and from there things get going nicely. I will say the run-time at right around two-hours was a little on the long side. But not to a major hindrance. Plus, once the story gets going the pace maintains itself so that later in the film, I was able to connect with the fatigue of the characters which was a nice complement to the subject-matter. The dialogue felt formulaic to the genre but with the story itself taking the focus, and the capable cast, it didn’t distract from the tension of the main plot-line.
The story was simplistic. It didn’t try to incorporate too many movie parts. This let the attention remain on the group trying to get out of South America alive. It keeps the situations grounded and doesn’t try to force too much spectacle. Things go south for these guys many times and with the authenticity of the mission scenarios, it resulted in compelling cinema wondering what they would do each time something got in their way. The roadblocks in their road to escape come in many forms. Some are more emotional driven, and some are sequences of pure action with well-crafted shoot-outs. This movie could have easily leaned on the gun-play, but it added the violence as a complement to the story which I think made it land with more intensity and ramification.
It was a solid heist movie with a great cast that make the most out of decent material. It could have dug deeper into the characters to make us care about and fear for them much more. But they work more than enough to fill this tense script with more than simple plug-and-play characters. The locations and backdrops were fantastic, they effectively pulled me into the story settings. It has heavy doses of violent action here-and-there that charge the tone with energy. But with the focus being on the adventurous suspense of the heist, I think it gives a fresh atmosphere to what could have been a generic action movie.