“Triple Frontier:” a solid Netflix flick


For those of you who can’t be bothered to get out to a movie theater, don’t worry, because a high-caliber film filled with beautiful cinematography, a star-studded cast and a solid script full of provoking moral quandaries can be found on your Netflix app in the form of “Triple Frontier.”

Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac and a crew of A-listers star in “Triple Frontier,” a Netflix film about a group of ex-army operatives who decide to band together and go outside the law to take down a powerful South American drug lord and take his money for themselves.

All of these men have given the better part of their lives to serving their country and have received almost nothing to show for it. They’ve taken bullets, had their familial relations strained, developed mental health problems like PTSD and have been forced to live with the question of whether what they did, and the lives that they took along the way, was worth it in the end.

They recieve intelligence on the drug lord’s whereabouts and develop a plan to get in, take out the drug lord, obtain the money and get out of South America.

Despite their careful planning and skilled execution, everything doesn’t go quite as smoothly as they could have hoped, and they end up making mistakes that will affect both them and the people they love.

Some movies are made to tell stories, and some are made to thrill and entertain. Others are made to inspire and to instruct. Still others are made to ask, and perhaps answer, a question.

This latter is exactly the type of movie that “Triple Frontier” is.

In this film, questions regarding man’s tendency toward greed and revenge, sacrifice, friendship and the very real problem of how our nation treats our veterans and ambition are all interwoven into a story that is powerfully and skillfully executed on every level.

There is not a dull moment in this film. The pacing of the film is simply superb, which is a real feat considering it is a team-up/heist film. Usually, these types of movies will have one or two well-developed characters, with the rest essentially being cannon fodder.

That isn’t the case with “Triple Frontier.” It maintains both its pace and the integrity of its complex and realistic characters.

The characterizations of these ex-soldiers are rich and realistic. Any one of us with a friend or family member who has been in the military will recognize the terrific work that this film’s cast put into doing justice to the problems faced by the modern American veteran.

The relationship between Isaac’s ‘Pope’ and Affleck’s ‘Redfly’ is particularly rich and worth paying extra attention to when watching the film.

As this film is more down-to-earth than your average blockbuster, very little artificially-generated effects are are used, and the movie is made to feel more gritty and real as a result.

The stunt work and practical effects that are implemented in the making of this film are all done incredibly well, contributing to the film by being so good that an engaged viewer would not even notice them.

This film’s cinematography, while not groundbreaking or new in any sense, is masterfully done. Director of cinematography Roman Vasyanov proves himself to be the perfect man for the job, as he takes full advantage of the exquisite on-site filming opportunities available to him. His work on this film makes one want to view it on the big screen.

Despite all of the great qualities of the film, the sheer number of characters, circumstances, settings and questions can make it feel a bit uneven at times. Viewers need to pay attention to every minute of this flick if they want to grasp it in its totality.

Though it remains similar in construction to other great heist movies out there, of which there are a great many, the quality of the quandaries one confronts when considering this film elevates it above most others.   

“Triple Frontier” does ask more questions than it answers, but that, I think, is exactly the point. For these American men who were turned into warriors, unanswered questions about the morality of their actions have been floating through their minds for most of their adult lives.

They have lived lives where they have to ask their loved ones to put up with the possibility of them being shot any day. They have lived lives where they had to scream in solitary agony about the act of taking a life, even if it was for their country.

What’s stopping them from taking out a criminal when governments are unable and benefiting a bit as a result?

This question is never fully answered, and innumerable interpretations of the film’s answer to it are possible, proving the complex and powerful nature of the story this movie tells.

“Triple Frontier” is not a perfect film and does nothing new. Despite this, its combination of tried-and-true filmmaking techniques with a script filled with powerful questions and layered characters creates a solid movie that will intrigue and entertain anyone who gives it a chance.


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