The latest Netflix export, ‘Triple Frontier’ sees Oscar Isaac reunite with director J. C. Chandor after their previous collaboration, 2014 crime drama ‘A Most Violent Year’. The film has suffered a troublesome production with Kathryn Bigelow originally set to direct and actors such as Tom Hanks & Mahershala Ali previously signed on to star. After numerous set backs and casting changes Netflix acquired the rights to the film, releasing it almost a decade after its original production started.
The film follows “Pope” (Oscar Isaac) who reunites four of his friends, all of whom are military veterans for a mission in South America. As he closes in on drug lord, Lorea, who he’s been hunting for three years he seeks the skill and expertise of his military buddies to help him achieve his goal, and maybe take advantage of the situation for some personal gain too.
It quickly becomes apparent that ‘Triple Frontier’ is a heist film which implements the fairly standard formula employed by the genre; assemble the team, plan & carry out the heist, survive the aftermath. What it has to offer beyond the expected norms though is that it presents this tried and tested formula in a less common setting, approaching it from this military context. This brings with it an engaging ethical slant to the proceedings as the men often discuss what they are and aren’t willing to do to complete their mission. This gives an added layer to the film, not dissimilar to Bart Layton’s ‘American Animals’ but also not to as high a standard. Nonetheless, the moral ambiguity creates a sense of unpredictability and tension that runs throughout the film, making the two hour plus runtime no problem at all.
Further complimenting the narrative is the excellent action sequences littered throughout the runtime. This element is impressively executed & filmed, providing countless moments of suspense with one helicopter sequence in particular proving the highlight amongst a strong collection of action spectacles. These confidently presented sequences elevate the story and also contribute to the brisk pace.
Joining Oscar Isaac are Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund & Pedro Pascal who make up the main group of protagonists. They perform well in their roles delivering believable performances of their characters. It’s easy to buy the natural camaraderie that they exude as a group and as a result no one actor steals the show. Instead the whole ensemble drive the story forward and their portrayal of this group’s tight knit friendship showcases a compelling collection of characters for the audience to observe.
‘Triple Frontier’ may well be Chandor’s most appreciated film to date, it certainly will become his most seen thanks to its Netflix release. The A-list cast deliver solid and intriguing performances as this group of vets who must decide what’s really important to them as they’re caught in an ethical crossfire. The story is elevated thanks to these discussions and its impressive action sequences cement it as one of the genre’s strongest outings of recent months.
Written by Hamish Calvert
Rating – 8/10
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