There is a scene in Triple Frontier wherein survival becomes more important than money for the film’s five protagonists, all military veterans, who are on the run after robbing a South American drug lord. Out in the wilderness, they are forced to make a bon fire out of the currency notes they have robbed in order to keep themselves warm at the foothills of the Andes. They do so while laughing out loud. There is not an iota of regret on their faces. The moment is quintessentially Hollywood. For these men killing is probably as easy as breathing. They are on this mission not out of duty, pride, or honor. They are purely driven by greed. But if they value something more than money it is a strong sense of camaraderie. There all share an unspoken code of honor which in words of the late American film critic Roger Ebert is “not about what side of the law they are on, but about how a man must behave to win the respect of those few others who understand the code.”
Triple Frontier is the latest in the series of films that Netflix has snatched from a major Hollywood Studio. A star-studded action thriller, Triple Frontier was initially supposed to be directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar-winning film director of The Hurt Locker, for Paramount Pictures but after a series of delays the film finally landed up with J. C. Chandor who is known for making films like Margin Call and A Most Violent Year. At the time the film was supposed to star Tom Hanks and Will Smith. But the agreement couldn’t be reached. Subsequently, the names of Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy and Channing Tatum got attached to the project but again things didn’t materialize. A few more rounds of negotiations with other actors too failed to reap any rewards before the names of Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, and Charlie Hunnam were confirmed. Finally, Chandor has delivered the film and it is currently streaming on Netflix following a week-long theatrical run in select theatres in the US.
Triple Frontier delivers edge-of-the-seat thrill with some breathtaking shots of the icy Andes; this is really the closest one can get to the mighty mountains without actually scaling their peaks. The story and characters lack depth but the tough looking men playing the film’s five protagonists nonetheless make it an engaging watch. There is no denying that Oscar Isaac and Charlie Hunnam are two of the most exciting actors working today. And Affleck to his credit can act well within his limitations. Thankfully, the trio brings their “A” game to Triple Frontier. The rest of the cast supports them well. It is heartening to see Netflix bankroll such difficult projects. Triple Frontier certainly is the biggest yet in terms of star power. And despite the weaknesses and flaws it isn’t a bad one. At a time when the fight between Netflix and Hollywood Studios is reaching its crescendo, Triple Frontier makes for a strong case study in the favor of Netflix.