“Triple Frontier” is a triple threat of drama, action, and suspense
Views 26 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 3 - 27 - 2019 | By: Craig Odenwald
We’ve seen countless action movies featuring no-nonsense, cigar chomping lethal weapons with a chip on their shoulder. When one sees the poster for “Triple Frontier” featuring that very type of group, they might ask, “Is there anything new to this one?”
Fortunately, “Triple Frontier” is able to deliver both the gripping shootouts we’ve come to expect in action films and also add a layer of moral conundrums that subvert typical genre expectations. Directed by J.C. Chandor, the film features an all-star cast led by Oscar Isaac’s Pope, a police advisor in Colombia and ex-Special Forces operative. One of the men he’s been chasing for years has a cache of money hidden deep in the jungle, and Pope is determined to scramble his old special forces crew to take it. “Triple Frontier” takes its time getting the crew together, and in doing so, shows the differences in the characters between their civilian lives and when they re-enter the realm of tactical operations.
Ben Affleck excels as Tom, the strategist of the group whose life fell apart after leaving the service. His performance as a civilian works because while the audience has a hard time buying the 6’4”, lumbering ex-soldier as a real-estate agent, so does he. Affleck doesn’t fit into the world he returned to, which makes his performance even better when he’s back in the heart of the jungle, creating masterful plans on the fly. Rounding out the group are Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund, and Charlie Hunnam, with Hunnam in particular skillfully working with Isaac and Affleck’s more gruff and snarky personalities. He’s the voice of reason in the group, and keeps them from being too much of an angsty crew.
The friendships established are quickly put to the test as they enter the Colombian jungle, which is where “Triple Frontier” holds its greatest asset: the group’s sense of morality. Pope is all too eager to get the money and go, but there are villagers, family members, and others the men encounter across their journey who risk getting caught in the crossfire. With the legality of their operation in question, one might think the group throws their morals out the window. To “Triple Frontier”’s credit, some characters do and others don’t. As the story progresses, the big question of “how far is too far?” gets brought up repeatedly, but not in a way that becomes repetitive. Instead, editor Ron Patane’s precise scene transitions and Roman Vasyanov’s tight cinematography make for intense, nail-biting sequences in which the “Frontier” crew have to navigate physical and moral obstacles. Shootouts are tense and adrenaline-filled, and while the quieter, emotional moments are a hit-or-miss thanks to brief dialogue, there’s plenty of entertainment to be had on this harrowing journey. “Triple Frontier” puts its characters through the ringer, and the film ultimately does what it sets out to do: tell a story that asks some hard questions.