People will certainly get drawn to this movie for it's all-star cast, and the ensemble doesn't disappoint. Hunnam, Pascal, and Hedlund all turn in solid, emotional performances, on par with the consistently solid work the trio have become known for. (They also make one hell of a team and will hopefully work together more often.) Affleck is billed as the film's lead, which he does admirably when called upon. But make no mistake, this is*Oscar Isaac's movie, and he is every bit the star we hope for him to be. Whether it's in the middle of a shootout or chatting with his old pal's teenage daughter about her father's recent struggles, Isaac carries the weight of the world in his eyes, just daring you to look away.
I'm going to be honest, I didn't expect too much from*Triple Frontier. That one's on me. I can underestimate Netflix movies all I want to, but J.C. Chandor uses this film to show me, and the world, that he's truly a force to be reckoned with, and I'll be damned if I second guess him again.
It becomes apparent that in some respects, Chandor is attempting to make a modern-day Western, with our main characters the gun-slinging outlaws trying to get away clean after a big bank robbery in a dead-end town. There’s even a drawn-out shootout scene in a craggy valley that feels like it was lifted directly from Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. But beyond the “what would a modern-day Western look like now?” set-up, Triple Frontier doesn’t have anything to say. The actors here are strong, but the characters they’re playing are blank. Only Isaac really has any development, and it’s not much to go on. Is the film trying to highlight the saga of working class men who were trained by the United States to kill, and have no idea how to fit back in society? Is it trying to call attention to the plight of the South Americans living in terror of drug lords? Or is it really just an excuse to watch a bunch of shouty dudes fire off their loud weapons? I’m going to go with the last option.
That doesn’t necessarily make Triple Frontier a bad movie. It just doesn’t make it good, either. Triple Frontier straddles the line between the unapologetic cheese of Den of Thieves, and the seriousness of Zero Dark Thirty (whose screenwriter, Mark Boal, also co-wrote this). I only wish it would’ve made up its mind to lean one way or another. As it stands, the movie is entirely watchable (albeit a bit long, at a little over 2 hours). Like the main characters in the film, it gets the job done, and does so in an extremely sloppy manner. But don’t be surprised if you’re entertained.