What You Need To Know:
There’s an epic scale to TRIPLE FRONTIER that’s engaging. It’s a well-acted thriller about honor among thieves that resembles a present-day TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. Oscar Isaac is particularly outstanding among the solid cast. The action is expertly done, tensions are high, and the twists come flying fast enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. However, TRIPLE FRONTIER has a strong pagan worldview with abundant foul language and bloody violence, mitigated by some light moral elements.
TRIPLE FRONTIER tells the story of five former US special forces operatives whose loyalties are tested when they reunite to steal a drug lord’s fortune and unleash a chain of unintended consequences. There’s an epic scale to TRIPLE FRONTIER that’s engaging, but it has a strong pagan worldview with abundant foul language and lots of bloody violence, mitigated by some light moral elements.
The movie opens on the leader of the former soldiers, Santiago “Pope” Garcia (Oscar Isaac), who’s now operating as a mercenary in South America. When he learns a vicious drug cartel kingpin has many millions of dollars stashed in cash in his compound, he pays visits to his former team members Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck), William “Ironhead” Miller (Charlie Hunnam) and Ben Miller (Garrett Hedlund) to convince them to steal the treasure.
Their rationale is that, despite spending their best decades heroically doing America’s most dangerous military missions, they are still financially struggling. Considering the money belongs to an evil drug lord, they’re nervous about being safe but also eager to try Santiago’s daring heist.
Santiago has an inside source, a woman who lives inside the compound and notifies him that the drug lord leaves for certain only once weekly, to attend an early morning Catholic Mass on Sundays with his children. Knowing that no youngsters risk getting harmed if they strike at that time, the protagonists make their elaborate break-in on a Sunday morning.
They have to kill a few guards, but soon the leads find far more money than they ever expected, hidden in a highly unexpected place. Greed kicks in with some of them, as they waste valuable getaway time stuffing bag after bag with cash.
As they flee on foot and in jeeps before trying to fly out of the country with their illicit bounty, things start to go tragically wrong. However, they remain loyal to each other until the bitter end.
TRIPLE FRONTIER is an expertly made, though tonally dark, action film where it’s hard to fully root for the “heroes” because they’re so embittered and are committing crimes, no matter how noble their excuse. While all the actors are solid, Isaac is outstanding as the ringleader, displaying both charisma as he recruits his friends and the fear of losing them forever when things turn really deadly.
Director JC Chandor (MARGIN CALL, ALL IS LOST) has crafted a string of independent, smart films about men in dangerous dilemmas, and he surpasses himself here with an epic scale approach to a well-acted drama about honor among thieves that resembles a present-day TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. Isaac is particularly outstanding among the solid cast, with Ben Affleck taking a key supporting role instead of his usual movie-star turn.
The action is expertly done, tensions are high throughout, and the twists come flying fast enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Netflix is definitely able to compete against any major studio placing its high-budget fare in theatres.
TRIPLE FRONTIER has major flaws on the morality front, as our “heroes” are trying to steal from a drug lord. That might make it more noble in their eyes, but it’s definitely a moral cloud hanging over this movie. Also, providing for their families is one of the things motivating them, not just greed.
There’s abundant foul language in TRIPLE FRONTIER, along with lots of bloody violence. So, extreme caution is advised.