A Well Rehearsed, Formulaic Heist Movie
With a smattering of talented actors, a well-rehearsed script and some slick cinematography, Triple Frontier does tick all the right boxes, at least until the second half of the film which feels far weaker compared to the first. Still, there’s enough here to get excited about and the film does an excellent job delivering the goods when it really matters.
The story begins right at the heart of the drama. After a failed attempt at catching a notorious drug lord, a retired soldier gathers a few of his trusted friends some time later after their time in the forces. With the promise of a lucrative payday if they can navigate a dangerous and foolhardy heist, the men agree to work together and set off to steal the drug lord’s money. Of course, things aren’t as simple as they first seem and it’s not long before all hell breaks loose. This results in a battle for survival as the men try to remain on the same page while faced with insurmountable odds and a growing sense of dread.
In its most simplest form, Triple Frontier is a heist film through and through, sticking closely to the archetypal structure of this genre. Thankfully, the film’s aesthetically polished shots, combined with some really slick camera work, make this a really good-looking title nonetheless. While the story is dripping in dramatic tension, the plot itself doesn’t serve up much in the way of surprises. Still, there’s enough here to get excited about and a lot of that is thanks to the fantastic acting which is partly what makes this one so endearing.
With Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck leading the charge, the five men at the heart of this film combine, showing off some great chemistry. Having said that, there’s a distinct lack of characterisation for most of the cast here, with Affleck’s character in particular having a bit of a shaky moral compass at times. Given the film’s 2 hour run time and various interludes between the action pieces, it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity that this isn’t utilized better.
There’s an eclectic selection of music throughout the film too and although the dramatic tension remains a constant presence, some of the music choices undermine the tension. Hearing Fleetwood Mac – The Chain and Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls are the most jarring and stand out against the backdrop of an otherwise moody and nervy thriller.
Triple Frontier is not a bad film and certainly has its moments. The opening skirmish and ensuing 45 minutes or so after this build up the tension nicely but the second half fizzles out a little with an unsatisfying ending. Those expecting an adrenaline soaked gunfight like Lone Survivor or Black Hawk Down will certainly be left wanting here but as a formulaic heist movie, Triple Frontier does tick all the right boxes. It’s not perfect, and the lack of characterisation does hurt this one, but there’s enough here to whet the appetite.
Verdict - 7/10