When Heat released back in 1995, it changed the way we looked at heist films. The leads Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were a delight to watch, the plot was gripping and the sound design was spectacular. It was compared to another heist movie of the same year – The Usual Suspects (which is a gem of its own). Triple Frontier is an adventurous ride that starts off great but is unable to maintain the interest of the viewer as it progresses.

Santiago “Pope” Garcia is a military specialist in Columbia. Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina, Annihilation) has done a pretty good job in portraying a calculating and assertive soldier. He is searching for a drug lord named Lorea. His informant, who wants to leave Columbia for good agrees to give him the infamous drug lord’s location deep in the Columbian jungles. Mark Boal, the screenwriter has taken elements from his previous films like The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and the video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

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Triple Frontier is a tri-border area separating Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

What makes Triple Frontier stand out is its setting. Though most heist films have their premise around a metropolitan city (like Boston or Las Vegas), this movie is set deep in dense jungles and the Andes mountains. Pope hires his old comrades to help him steal all the money in Lorea’s house. Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck in another heist film after the critically acclaimed The Town) is a divorced realtor who is clearly unhappy with his job. The same can be said for William “Ironhead” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), who travels around the country giving motivational speeches. Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal) has recently lost his flying license. William’s brother Ben (Garrett Hedlund) is an MMA fighter. The men are initially reluctant to be a part of this risky plan but slowly give in.

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Oscar Isaac (centre) and Ben Affleck (extreme right) stand out in this heist thriller.

This is the “One Last Job” act that is pretty common in many films. The heist sequence is dark and intense. However, we see Lorea only once throughtout the film. Character development is really sloppy and uninteresting. On almost completing their mission, the men (especially Redfly) find greed taking over their rational thinking. Pope estimated around $75 million to be in the house but it turns out to be a lot more. I felt that after this point, the movie sort of starts losing the viewer’s interest a bit. It changes it genre from a “heist thriller” to a “survival” film. Greed is an underlying concept that has been portrayed many times in movies. This movie too expands the same as the group has more money than they can handle.

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The movie has an unconventional setting ranging from dense jungles to the cold Andes mountains.

I would say that the end fate of all the money they steal is both tragic and ambiguous. Triple Frontier has a refreshing setting and tense atmosphere. However the poor character development and a forgettable second half hamper its potential. Overall, it is entertaining and a step above many Netflix films.

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