“Triple Frontier” illuminates an average plot with extraordinary acting, meaningful message



With a 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.9/10 on IMDb, popular critics are nit-picking the broken-record plot this movie attempts and recognizing that the well-known appearances are what saved this film.

Bella Hall, Writer

How much is a human life worth? $1 million? What about $250 million?

“Triple Frontier” is an unpredictable story told in an untypical way. This nail-biting thriller challenges an ethos even more pervasive than survival: greed. The Netflix original follows five former Special Force soldiers on their mission to seek a drug lord’s $250 million piggy bank and the emotional challenges that are exposed when faced with the decision between money and the treasure of human life. It recognizes the beauty of brotherhood and illustrates the mental battles these soldiers have to endure as they contemplate the value of a human soul—whether it be that of a stranger or a brother.

The movie opens with the insight of each members’ life. It begins with future leader Santiago “Pope” Garcia (Oscar Isaac) attempting to execute a heist in a nearly desolate land in South America. While he is there, he meets Yovanna, who wants to be smuggled out of the country in exchange for information about a cocaine cartel leader named Lorea. Pope’s adrenaline rush of getting back into military missions has him itching to get the group back out into the military world. With the suspicious manipulating by Pope to get the team back together, the five friends set out on a risky life-changing or life-ending adventure. He empowers the crew to steal Lorea’s fortune, only they take this endeavor into their own hands.

However, what one might think the whole movie will lead up to—stealing Lorea’s money—ends up being the setup for an even more challenging undertaking: fighting the craving for more. As the first half comes to a close, the five members already have hundreds of bags full of money; so what happens now? The expedition truly begins when they become numb to the physical and emotional damage they are causing to the people around them because they are blinded by Benjamins.

As the film progresses, the overarching message becomes more and more evident. It displays how enslaved one could become over what money and its root of evil can do. With people being senselessly shot left and right over millions of dollars, the growing lust for cash within these characters is exposed. The audience witnesses a change of mindset in the characters. Pope’s close friend, Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck), is a single father who is struggling to keep him and his daughter financially afloat while grasping onto their fading relationship. His careful heart changes into a reckless mind in the face of Lorea’s money mountains.



Director J.C. Chandor did a beautiful job with the cinematography but seemed to lack the extraordinary factor of a dramatic thriller plot. Top secret missions set out to defeat the cartel is an intriguing storyline, but it falls short when it comes to individualism; this plot is not the first of its kind. The film appears to tell two stories: the journey of chasing money and the life embraced in giving up money. With this formulaic approach, the film felt rushed and lacked the depth of audience-to-film it potentially could’ve had.  

Although the film lacks a unique plot development, “Triple Frontier” exceptionally demonstrates the complicated motivations of the characters. Starring Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck and Charlie Hunnam, the cast was the perfect ensemble in illustrating the deep struggles of the soldiers. Their performances exceptionally developed each of their characters and the overall theme the film intended to execute.

With a 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.9/10 on IMDb, popular critics are nit-picking the broken-record plot this movie attempts and recognizing that the well-known appearances are what saved this film.

While the storyline is not anything new to the audience, the execution was tasteful and creates a movie worth watching.

What do you think?