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Film Review : Triple Frontier

The last time I was excited to see a Netflix movie, my experience turned from excitement to extremely disappointed really fast. That day Velvet Buzzsaw quickly became one of my least favourite movies of 2019 (so far). Triple Frontier looked like a pretty interesting action drama, throw in an amazing cast and figured the creators couldn’t do any wrong. I can happily say my experience was nothing like with Velvet Buzzsaw. Triple Frontier is an engaging and brilliantly acted thriller, which sadly is brought down by poor character development.

Five former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the first time in their prestigious careers these unsung heroes undertake this dangerous mission for self instead of country. But when events take an unexpected turn and threaten to spiral out of control, their skills, their loyalties and their morals are pushed to a breaking point in an epic battle for survival.

One of the best things about Triple Frontier is its acting, which is compelling, dramatic and macho. The cast is an ensemble of actors that I love, Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal and Garrett Hedlund who I didn’t even know until this movie but I now want to go and see his other movies. Everyone gives a great performance, no one outshines the other and that’s one of the best things I took from this movie. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the writing which stumbles at times and never quite knows who to focus on the most and because of this there is a huge lack of character development.

The first act is spent gathering all of the characters together, some could argue this is the movies weakest point and I would be inclined to agree with them. The movie takes a while to get going, almost 50 minutes into the movie before our cast is assembled and we can expect some action. I didn’t mind this as much because I loved all of the actors, but I can see many people turning the movie off very early in. When the action does finally ramp up, it doesn’t disappoint. Props to the choreographers because everything felt real, this is where I respected all of the actor’s performance. You can clearly see they all trained for months, this is evidenced in their movements, way they hold their guns, way they fire, it all feels like I’m watching real people in action.

When the raid on drug king Gabriel Martin Lorea finally happens, it does not disappoint and is easily the highlight of the whole movie. The directors do an amazing job at depicting these characters as professionals at their craft. Besides having their timings a little off, the way we hear about these characters I dealt that would have happened but I guess they had to lead us into the 3rd act somehow. The raid is surprisingly tense, especially towards the end when we realise they don’t have long left before reinforcements arrive. The movie threw enough twists along the way to keep my interest, especially one that I did not expect at all, props to the director.

I didn’t expect the 3rd act to be so slow but I think it works in the movie’s favour. After seeing such an epic set piece like the raid go down, I needed something to slow the movie down and I was always questioning whether they would make it out alive with the money. The fact that the movie kept me thinking this, I have to give it merit for.

Overall, Triple Frontier is a smart, character-driven, at times poorly written action thriller. It takes a while for the story to ramp up but when it finally does its great. The Raid scene would have to be one of the best scenes I’ve seen in months. Partially down to the action, acting and perfect direction. It’s just a shame the characters never really get much development because I really wanted to rate this movie higher. Still, if you’re after an interesting action thriller and can sit through 45-50 mins of build up, then you might just find something to love.

Triple Frontier (6.5/10)

Director: J.C. Chandor

Runtime: 125 Minutes