Netflix ‘originals’ as they would like to call them. In recent times the streaming service giant’s unique set of tv series and movies have grown immensely popular. Even after bagging three academy awards in 2019 for Roma, these ‘originals’ are still a skeptical choice for those who are in search of a masterpiece of a film. Yet, for someone who won’t mind a tried and tested action-packed heist to enjoy a comfy evening, Netflix's ‘Triple Frontier’ will hardly disappoint them. True, despite showcasing tight storytelling and compelling plot standing apart from common ‘one last job’ themes, the Ben Affleck-starrer military movie leaves us wanting.
Titular ‘Triple Frontier’ means a tri-nation border zone of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil where special operative Santiago 'Pope' Garcia (Oscar Isaac) has been searching for a notorious drug lord for past few years. After getting tipped by his informant ‘Yovanna’ (Adria Arjona) about a large sum of money hidden away in the jungle he strikes a plan. ‘Pope’ finds and teams up with his former colleagues; Tom 'Redfly' Davis (Ben Affleck), a divorcee struggling with his civilian life; motivational speaker William 'Ironhead' Miller (Charlie Hunnam) and his MMA fighter brother Ben Miller (Garrett Hedlund) alongside Francisco ‘Catfish’ Morales (Pedro Pascal) a former pilot charged with cocaine-trafficking. When ‘Pope’ presses each of them reminding ‘they deserve more’ for their service to their country, the plan is greenlit. Although giving their country years of dedicated service in military expertise, this time the band of rugged soldiers decides to play it for them keeping the money.
As per common heist film ‘recipe’, the team faces adversaries, shoots through it, then again are set back as the film rushes to the climax. What is a fresh move in the plot and storyboard is the gripping tension, an unpredictable scenario as every character presented on screen has little to no character development. However, apart from typical action films with heist plots, the team faces more trouble in getting away with the money rather than getting their hands on them. Throughout their rush alongside the borders of South America with the money, relationships between these ex-military men are tested. Even viewers can argue that each of these men is ultimately driven by greed. Although the movie somehow manages to brush off these scraps of moral questioning and deliver a somewhat expected climax with the hint of a possible sequel.
Ben Affleck in the role of ‘Redfly’ has delivered the most intense performance over all the casts. Shown as a man with moral rigidity, in the later part of the film he transforms into a desperate father looking for a way out with the money. His portrayal somehow managed to hide the rather mediocre performance from the rest of the casts. The film as a whole is not essentially a bad experience but the overall aesthetics left a lot to be desired.
Director J. C. Chandor has co-written the screenplay with Mark Boal, the man behind the script of ‘The Hurt Locker’ who in times explored the morally gray areas about military movies such as operatives’ loyalty to their country, taking decisions out of self-interest and questioning the patriotic vibes given through them. However, what it feels like in the end the movie played much safer by setting things straight which took points away from an otherwise interesting work. Also, lack of female characters, as well as developed supporting casts, hurt the overall experience. The movie is in no sense a horrible one but at the same time not an exceptional entry either.
Rich in visual storytelling, thanks to the magnificent locations and camera-work of Roman Yasyanov, the movie fails to deliver a deeper storyline. The grippy and tight narrative of beginning sees a rushed ending towards the end. Although excelling in certain moments to indulge the viewer to do some headwork, the number of mishits is on the higher note. The film is unable to capitalise on the star-studded cast as the plot does not offer them much to work with. As like most ‘original’s by Netflix; this action piece will also be a treat for those who are into grim and gritty thrillers but will not mind a plotline which is somewhat shallow.
Triple Frontier was released on March 6 following its US premiere on March 3. The movie is currently available on Netflix for its subscribers.