Netflix has been churning out a ton of original films recently, and one of their biggest has been Triple Frontier. Starring Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal, and Garrett Hedlund as a group of former soldiers who are reunited by Pope (Isaac) to take out Colombian drug lord Lorea, and steal his enormous fortune.
Director J. C. Chandor certainly doesn’t mind taking his time with the film. After an explosive and dramatic opening Chandor slows the film down whilst he allows us to get to know the core group of soldiers, understand their motivations. Then as we get into their mission we see him directing a slick and thrilling action sequence as they storm Lorea’s house and steal his money. But this actual heist section of the film only takes us halfway through the film’s two hour run time.
The second half of the film focuses on the team’s extraction from Colombia as they flee with the money. The second half of the film is where Chandor and Mark Boal, who co wrote the screenplay with him, really want to dive down into the characters and show what the effect of this mission is on them. The problem is that the pace of the film grinds to an absolute halt here. There are plenty of interesting moments within the second hour, but not enough as my interest in the film waned.
The central performances from Isaac as Pope and Affleck as Redfly really make the moments that draw you back in during that second hour. Affleck slowly transitions from a reluctant participant in the heist to someone obsessed with making it back with as the money at all costs. His obsession is contrasted with Pope’s growing horror at what his friend, and possibly himself are becoming. Hunnam, Pascal, and Hedlund are all solid, but are very much supporting players in the film.
Halfway through I thought Triple Frontier may well be one of Netflix’s best original films, but in the end the second half just dragged far too much, which was a shame because the performances were so strong and deserved a much more consistent film.