Triple Frontier Review: Talented names can’t save tainted material
When Netflix dropped the trailer for Triple Frontier, an ensemble heist film that boasts an incredible male made by Oscar nominated writer J.C. Chandor, it looked to be a high-profile heist thriller filled with intensity and action. While Triple Frontier does mostly utilize its well-known cast, it’s not exactly what viewers would expect with this kind of film and ends up being a little, well, boring.
Honestly, while many viewers might expect the entire film to be the group (Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal) completing their heist to steal money from and kill a drug lord, the heist itself happens at the midpoint of the film. The rest of the film mostly focused on the weight of their decisions and how it affected both their escape as well as their views of what they’ve done. This led the film to be less action-heavy and more focused on the dialogue between the group of guys.
While I appreciated the slower pace at times as it gave me a chance to understand the characters better, I felt that the pace of the film was completely dragged down. There’s plenty of slower-paced action sequences that had a more personal feel to them and build their own kind of intensity, but those looking for insane chase sequences filled with Michael Bay style explosions should probably look elsewhere. The film was incredibly sluggish in pace and maybe could’ve been more manageable with better characters.
Despite solid performances, everyone basically fit into their respective tropes with Issacs being the one who pull everyone together, Affleck being the old captain, Hunnam being the honorable soldier, Hedlund being the young guy, and Pascal being the pilot. Their chemistry is what can set them apart from just being “the usual,” but their relationships were a little confusing and inconsistent in later parts of the film.
For instance, Hunnam’s William was shown to be very close with Affleck’s Tom at the start of the film, so much so that he wouldn’t even come on the mission without him, but later parts of the film show his brother, Hedlund’s Ben, to have a stronger emotional connection for little reason. These connections felt very surface level as well and the lack of depth left led to a film that doesn’t build to anything special or unique. All of the fun or humorous sides to their friendships are generally drowned out or don’t make any sort of impact and it led to a mostly dull experience.
Even when the film tried to get me to question the group’s morality, I was so disconnected from them that I couldn’t care less what the film tried to make me think about. There’re discussions about whether the group thinks of themselves as criminals and if they deserve the bad luck they receive, but it either took too long to get to the “answer” the film gives or tried to give them a moment of redemption that I didn’t feel anything towards.
Triple Frontier isn’t necessarily unworthy of the excellent names attached to it, but it didn’t do enough to be anything more than a heist movie that just couldn’t do enough to be different. It’s not necessarily a bad film or not worth watching, but it’s boring and that can be even worse sometimes.