Triple Frontier, 2019
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Triple Frontier tells the story of retired special operatives who are now struggling to make ends meet post-service, having nothing much to show for the many years they've served for their country. The impressive ensemble includes Ben Affleck (as Tom), Oscar Isaac (Santiago), Charlie Hunnam (William), Garret Hedlund (Ben) and Pedro Pascal (Francisco).
Santiago, who is now in the police force by way of South America, goes on to discover an infamous criminal that he's been searching for for a very long time's whereabouts. Not only that, he finds that there is a big fat cheque attached to recovering him. Santiago quickly rounds up his group of veteran friends and goes on a hunt for this narcos kingpin, not only for justice but mainly because they all need the jackpot that comes with doing away with this dude. If they do this the right way, they stand to score millions.
It's been years since we've gotten an action/heist thriller that actually feels like one in both theme and tone. The high stakes, the tension and suspense from scene to scene, the highly violent sequences. All this tying into the heart of the story, which is often staged to vindicate the criminals at the center of the narrative from their illegal activity in order to secure the money in question. I mean, we're rooting for these guys through and through. Which then poses a big question mark on our own morality.
Triple Frontier is a high-concept ride better appreciated in the same manner you'd consume a 90s action thriller. In this way, Michael Mann's masterpiece Heat comes to mind, where the intensity of being human and the sharpness that comes with that reality and what we're willing to do when push comes to shove reveals itself upon being pressed against hot iron. Triple Frontier is all about that hot iron and more. Not once does the writer and director flinch when it comes to making the film as raw as possible.
This is a story of real human beings meant to be a watercooler on morality. Sure these group of military goons have pulled this kind of thing off a lot of times before, but now they're not operating in their known territory and it becomes evident pretty early on. They're worn by age, and the haunting realities of being reduced to nothing after being told they're heroes for their many years in service. They're riddled with post traumatic stress. They're driven by greed. And all of these factors begin to catch up with them as soon as they finally come across the compensation they've always deserved. Millions and millions of cold, hard cash will make anyone lose themselvs.
I was mostly impressed by co-writer/director J.C. Chandor for being as fearless and relentless as he was in pursuing the story he so clearly craved to tell. The writing team didn't compromise their creativity for one beat, and we're lucky enough that streaming services like Netflix exist to make it easier for these storytellers to be able to produce the mature programming they wish to, uncensored. And un-fucking-censored Triple Frontier is. This is some sublime storytelling, let me make that part clear! I'm for melodramatic, instinctive potboilers when they're balanced by a well-constructed narrative and genuive emotive beats.
An overall heart-jolting, enjoyable experience. The ensemble cast is a wonder to watch thanks to the effortless chemistry they share from the moment they're all gathered in one setting. These are genuinely the dude-bros I'd not mind watching together over a bunch of sequels. Just fooling around, having beer mustaches over their mustaches, bantering and brooding about their lives, their families, their values and dreams. All while planning the grandest heist in the history of the act.
Trust me, you want to watch this movie at least five times. One, because it's that good, two, because, look at all those faces! and three, because the core narrative demands that much deconstruction.
Also, the visuals are super compelling thanks to cinematographer Roman Vasyanov (Suicide Squad, Bright), who should get a hell of a lot more big-budget films after the masterful work he did on this particular movie. And who ever colour-graded the film deserves a raise! Those blues and greens blending into each other were nothing less than spellbinding.
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