J.C. Chandor’s “Triple Frontier” is a film based on morality and how society has failed a group of war heroes. The film lacks in a lot of areas but makes a sincere effort to communicate the message it wants to give. A testosterone-driven star cast who does badass stuff. They drink beer and listen to Metallica. A bunch of handsome guys who use their skills learned over their lifetime to conduct a heist. Triple Frontier is less a shrine to masculinity than a callback to the themes embraced by the John Huston/Humphrey Bogart classic, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre explored the corrupting influence of greed. As it caused otherwise decent men to act violently and irrationally in pursuit of gold. Triple Frontier is cast from the same mold with paranoia and avarice; obliging the members of Pope’s handpicked group to be impulsive, incautious, and at times downright stupid.
Triple Frontier- Synopsis
Triple Frontier is the kind of heist flick in which a group of former special-ops soldiers reunites for a high-stakes heist. Stealing $75 million from a South American drug lord. Oscar Isaac stars as Santiago “Pope” Garcia, who has been working in South America to apprehend a powerful kingpin named Lorea. After an unexpectedly panic-inducing shootout at a disco, Garcia learns Lorea’s location from one of his informants. And immediately begins assembling a team of tough guys he can trust to do the job.
William “Ironhead” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), a veteran whose new job seems to consist entirely of giving demotivating speeches to current soldiers, discouraging them from using their deadly skills in the private sector. William’s brother Ben (Garrett Hedlund), who now makes a living getting pummeled in MMA fights. There’s the skilled pilot Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal), who’s just had his pilot’s license suspended.
But most importantly, to these guys at least, Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck), whose heroism in the line of duty has been matched only by his lousy luck since leaving the military. Divorced, swimming in debt, and alienated from his daughter, Redfly doesn’t just need a job. He needs a purpose, and the purpose Pope gives him isn’t noble: It’s just money. It takes little time for them to turn on each other where everyone is for themselves. Circumstances make them helpless and selfish. After all the mayhem, it’s just more chaos and destruction. A mission planned to kill one despicable human being and better the world while becoming filthy rich. In the process, it slowly snowballs into an affair of a double-digit body count and “survival of the fittest” while transporting the money across the jungle for extraction via boat.
Strong Message But Weak Execution
The concept looks promising and raises some pertinent questions. The soldiers who have given everything in the service of the nation are still forced to meet their ends. Society has failed them. But it lacks the character and screenplay which the premise demanded. The film wants to give layers to every character but does not provide enough time for the audience to resonate with them. It looks like a hack job that succeeds in creating a certain sense of excitement.
This movie is a great example of how too many cooks can sometimes spoil the broth. A star-studded cast also requires proper character development. The pacing of the movie is yet another big issue with the film. A great concept that takes like two hours to reach the concluding message. It just goes on and on with boring dialogues. It’s the natural camaraderie of the actors which saves the film for bits and pieces. The characters are not given enough to play with. Even the character who goes too far and jeopardizes the mission out of greed doesn’t go far enough to drive a visible wedge within the group.
The film is not able to fully explore the moral grey ventures which it wanted to. It somewhats succeeds in communicating the message but it could have been reached quickly. It tries to do a lot of things but fails at a lot of them. Other than that, it’s a thrilling and exciting movie with a great message. It is an ambitious and sincere effort. It’s JC Chandor, fans expect better story pacing, rich grey characters, and subtle nuances for which he is known. Triple Frontier lacks at several places but somehow manages to transcend the message it wants to communicate. Could it be given in a better way? Hell Yeah!