Review: Netflix’s ‘Triple Frontier’ is ambitious, but soft

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With the foolproof formula of a heist gone wrong, “Triple Frontier” has the potential to be a gripping film, but it doesn’t deliver.

Oscar Isaac leads a stellar cast including: Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal; as disgruntled U.S. armed forces veterans who venture into the jungle to steal a drug lord’s money. The heist, of course, goes horribly wrong, and setback after setback leave the team making difficult choices that could mean life or death.

(Trailer courtesy of Netflix on Youtube.)

While the film is billed as a thriller, the pace is too slow to ever be enthralled in it. The first half takes too long to set the scene, while the second half provides a few action scenes that drive the story ever so slightly forward.

The screenplay is the film’s weakest link. Characters are not developed properly and not much backstory is provided, so one doesn’t really know who to root for. Only Oscar Isaac’s and Ben Affleck’s characters are given enough dialogue to help understand their determination and their reasoning behind some of the decisions they make.

Instead, it feels like a slow action movie, almost like a very long version of one of the slower episodes of “Narcos.” By adding more character development, making it a little bit faster and even better musical choices would have helped the film become the thriller that it’s clearly supposed to be.

With producer Kathryn Bigelow on board, “Triple Frontier” should have been a no-brainer, given her track record with “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” The same goes for the film’s co-writer, Mark Boal, who has written both of Bigelow’s hits.

However, there is too much emphasis on the moral of the story. The setbacks our characters face are so repetitive that it feels like an after school special rather than a entertaining feature film.

Don’t get me wrong, the film has a pretty incredible look and feel. The shots of the vast landscape paired with good cinematography add to the high production value. My guess is that it would be equally as entertaining as if I had seen it on mute.

This large-scale project seems unlike anything Netflix has produced in the past and it only goes to show that, with the right story, they could pull this off in the future.

Verdict: 5/10

I probably had too high of a hope for this movie considering the plot and cast involved. The film lacked excitement, which would also have solved the pacing problem. The chemistry between the actors seems to be there, but that isn’t enough to carry the weight of the film. I’m hoping Netflix still takes the leap to create and produce more films like this, a well-made heist movie could prove to have enormous potential for the platform.