Written by director J.C. Chandor (A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, MARGIN CALL) and Mark Boal, TRIPLE FRONTIER is an American action thriller filmed in Hawaii but set in Colombia where drugs and drug lords rule. Mark Boal also wrote the Oscar winning THE HURT LOCKER which explains Kathryn Bigelow serving as executive producer for this film. The film involves a drug money heist from unseen drug lords. The film is not so much a robbery caper but an escape caper and more than half of the film involves the gang trying to escape from Colombia with the money. TRIPLE FRONTIER is a Netflix original movie. Netflix movies have the reputation of having scenarios that Hollywood studios are afraid to touch. There are reasons that can be imagined studios would not touch this none. It is not the conventional action film but the less said is better so that no spoilers may be revealed.
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.
The film looks at both greed and sacrifice, the former coming across more convincing than the latter. In fact it is greed for money that accounts for the major part of the group’s problems. As expected, loyalties are tested with big fights resulting from the clash of personalities. As stated at the start of the film when one of the Special Forces claim, as he lectures a new class of recruits on what it means to be a warrior; “We are trained to achieve an aim at the expense of any human being.” The script ensures that this is reasoning behind how the five robbers behave and act during their escape.
The script, story-wise is nothing spectacular and leaves many holes in terms of credibility. But the script leads to a few excellent action setups, most of these leaving the audience at the end of their seats. The cinematography by Roman Vasyanov is stunning, especially the shots from the helicopter of the jungles and mountains. The big crash of the chopper in the middle of the Colombian countryside in the midst of panicking horses is truly well executed. The other action segment where the mules passing along a narrow mountainside path carrying large bags of money is cliff-hanging suspense.
Music is by Disasterpeace and contains few neat songs that suit the action of the film.
The five stars playing the Special Forces include Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal do a fair job and could be replaced by any other. Oscar Isaac fares the best paying the lead character that keeps everything in check, while Affleck plays the wild card asshole in the group effectively.
The film scores strong points on the authenticity of the setting especially in the scenes set in Colombia even though the film was shot in Hawaii. But why would these Colombian villagers go chasing after the 5, risking their lives in the process?