Cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal
Director: JC Chandor
Triple Frontier, the latest Netflix original thriller, has Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal as the pack of ex-military, sulking men, who take it upon themselves to correct the wrong that has followed in the wake of their service to the country. Directed by JC Chandor, the story follows Affleck and company as they reunite to take down the biggest drug lord in South America.
The film opens strong and sets the tone for what is to come. Santiago Garcia (Oscar Isaac) is seen raiding a small town to bust a drug peddling criminal gang. Coincidentally, his informant in this quaint town, Yovanna (Adria Arjona) tells Garcia that she knows the location to Latin American drug kingpin Gabriel Martin Lorea (Reynaldo Gallegos), who as we later come to, through Garcia's own confession, is supposed to be his last take-down, before he retires. Garcia then sets out to recruit his team that will later form for a disastrous, no-sense-of-accountability-kinda crew, driven by insatiable greed for money.
The set-up looks convincing and the cast looks the part. However, as the film starts to play out and we realise that there is nothing much for the characters to do apart from disjointedly firing guns, stealing and running in an otherwise picturesque location. Triple Frontier falters terribly between predictability and no sense of fun. There are no coherent dialogues, or even hints that might justify the shallow side of the characters, which motivated them to set out on this deadly mission despite all odds markedly set against them.
Tom Davis (Affleck) has money problems and his job as a property agent is not turning out as well as he might expect. He lives out of his garage, and shouts victim, eagerly waiting to be rescued by Garcia, under the garb of a military mission. In a touch-and-go scene, this is the closest that we get to the insecure and vulnerable side of Davis, or any other character for that matter. The film is so eager to jump into the action that others are not even given the screen time to justify their leading into the main event.
William Miller (Charlie Hunnam), is a retired veteran and is terribly bored of giving out life lessons to new military breeds. So he is in on the game. Arguably agreed. But, Francisco Morales (Pedro Pascal) and Ben Miller (Garrett Hedlund) are party to the plan because they have nothing better at hand and are to be assumed good at what they do, is something unconvincing. No motivations and underdeveloped characterisation is what comes to mind.
Garcia lacks charisma and has no clear indication of what might go wrong so Davis takes the charge. In that, Davis does not say much apart from leading the crew through a series of woeful decisions that remain unchallenged by everyone. William is not given much except to look and talk tough and occasionally set his brother, Ben, straight. Although, William does manage to come across as the moral centre of the crew, if they had any to begin with.
Ben and Morales are reduced to tertiary characters, and only come to the fore if and when the story demands. They never engage or distinguish themselves, in expectation or performance. They silently contemplate and move on from scene to scene. For a film that is too much reliant on silences and looks to convey the unsaid, the camaraderie that the men are supposed to share gets lost.
Doing criminal things for good reasons is tried and tested formula in Hollywood, but Triple Frontier doesn’t really come up with any insight. Triple Frontier is currently streaming on Netflix. If anything, watch it for its cinematography by Roman Vasyanov.