The heist movie or treasure hunt movie is always the same and always pretty fun. It’s not supposed to be Shakespeare; it’s supposed to pull you in and be a thrill ride. This iteration is all about the down and out Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who decide to seek their fortune the old fashioned way: ripping off a drug kingpin! In true heist genre fashion, everything works out great!
The characters came across as real Veterans to me. After some research, the writer- Mark Boal was embedded with a platoon in Iraq and he also wrote The Hurt Locker. The characters in Triple Frontier were like the men I knew: strong, divorced, and liked to joke. Ben Affleck’s character Tom struck me as especially realistic. He loved his daughter, but there was a distance because he was just not suited for civilian life. She wanted him home, but he always wanted to be away. You could see on her face that she knew the moment his buddies came calling that he was already gone.
Oscar Isaac plays Pope who has a gig doing private security/law enforcement in South America. He is in pursuit of Lorea, a drug boss, who is causing all kinds of problems. Yada Yada Yada. Pope finds the location of Lorea’s hideout which has hundreds of millions of dollars stashed inside, but he needs a team to kill Lorea, Lorea’s men, get the cash, and get out of the country. He turns to his former squad to pull off the heist. They need a little cajoling, but they come around. There isn’t a lot of dialogue after they agree to the heist, which makes sense. They committed and now transitioned to soldier-mode. The heist starts off with success in sight, but it’s not long before everything goes wrong and they are in a fight for their lives.
The film is shot really beautifully and has some high-priced songs for a Netflix program. Everything seemed very real. Even the way the characters carried themselves and flowed through Lorea’s hideout was seamless. They moved the way we are trained to move through rooms. I am always looking for that in action films. Are they not having muzzle-awareness (pointing there weapon accidentally at a friendly)? Are they holding the rifle close to their face? Are they aiming right? The answers to those questions were yes. J.C. Chandor should be really proud of himself for the realism.
What kept pulling me into the story wasn’t the action (which was excellent BTW); it was that these men were like the ones I knew. The team itself was representative of who does our killing for us: salt of the earth…men. I like seeing women in action films and I am already excited about Black Widow, but the infantry in real life is male. They are regular guys who are asked to do terrible terrible things. When those terrible things are done, we cast the men aside. The story concludes a lot like the war itself did with a lot of loss and not a lot to show for it. This film has a political statement between the explosions and it’s worth listening to it.
* I included Mary Pop Poppins by the True Loves in my review. The song embodies the heist genre like no other. Also, they are Seattleites!!!!