Triple Frontier Movie Review
Netflix continues to attract top talent to its platform, yet most of the movies it produces are mediocre, the equivalent of those direct-to-video titles your parents would rent from Blockbuster because the cover featured someone they recognized.
Take Triple Frontier, the new action thriller from J.C. Chandler, the almost-good director known for almost-good movies such as Margin Call and A Most Violent Year (he also made the actually good All is Lost, for the record). Triple Frontier stars Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal as ex-soldiers who decide to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from a South America drug cartel only to find themselves burdened by the literal weight of the cash.
Triple Frontier is almost good too, a serviceable thriller that has shootouts and a decent budget but not quite enough momentum to keep it propelling forward. It’s sort of like Three Kings only with more grit and without David O. Russell’s style, George Clooney’s charm, or much of a spark.
The movie thinks it is more sophisticated than it actually is. Once you figure out its modus operandi—that the guys are going to have to continue shedding cash to survive, ultimately making their mission futile—it becomes oddly predictable, or at least not very rousing. It becomes Ten Little Indians only where the men’s greed is the killer, and it doesn’t work quite as well as it probably did on paper.
Still, Triple Frontier has plenty going for it. Isaac takes the movie seriously and gives a strong performance (Affleck is more in the “this is a Netflix movie so who cares?” mode), and Chandor is a talented enough filmmaker to assemble a nice looking film. None of the action scenes are memorable, but they are at least well-constructed. The plot is decent and the screenplay serviceable.
It just doesn’t come together in the end, a collection of interesting moments that never amounts to more than the sum of its parts.
As Netflix movies goes, Triple Frontier is solid enough. But that’s like saying that direct-to-video movie you’ve never heard of that your parents rented exceeded expectations.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.