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Triple Frontier (2019) <><>

The screenplay is from Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty), and it stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Issac, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, and Charlie Hunnam. Unfortunately, this star power doesn't save this movie.

I didn't understand what Triple Frontier meant until I read the IMDB description; it refers to the triple border area of Brazil, Peru and Columbia. What is a fun story to locate here? Stealing cash from a drug lord and getting the money safely home.

The movie has its good moments. The first fight scene is one of the better small south american mountain town shoot-outs. The chase through the village is well shot. The cinematography in the movie is solid, you feel like you are there and not an outside observer. It also shows up the wonderful diversity of ecosystems in South America.

The plot is unbalanced. It isn't a three act movie, more like a six act movie. The characters are not particularly developed through the movie. They all seem to be dicks in their own way and you aren't really rooting for them to succeed; they even call each other dicks.

This is a Netflix original with a limited theatrical release. If you like heist or action movies this may be worth a watch at home if you can't find something better. I was entertained more by the problems in this movie than by the movie itself.

Spoilers below:


There is always money in the banana stand, I mean the house itself is the safe. Well except for the panic room. If you have a panic room and you just watched all of your security guards get taken out, why reveal yourself just to get shot by this elite squad?

Why is the guy who 'counts everything in his life' not the leader. Why is he not constantly consulted on times and bags and distances? Why is he not the one who is raising red flags about the weight of the cargo and the capabilities of the helicopter? Shouldn't they all listen to him and not risk everything?

Tom is single handily responsible for the issues leaving the compound. He just keeps lying to the team because he needs a few extra million dollars. He is broke, one million dollars would change his life, why is he greedy? He was reluctant to take on this mission. Is there a back story where we learn seeing money flips a switch for him?

How is the brother freed from jail to drive the car for his sister? I thought he would be freed after the job? She gets the van on her own. Does that mean she freed her brother on her own?

Why show the son of the crime boss rolling down his window? Does that come back somehow? No it doesn't have any affect on the plot. I guess the son got to see the face of his father's killers. Maybe this is setup for a sequel?

Act 3 ends when the team gets on the helicopter, but that is just the halfway mark of the movie. The entire second half of the movie is its own three acts. This leaves the entire first half of the movie irrelevant. You could start this with the helicopter scene and nothing would be lost. The money would just be a McGuffin at that point.

The team leaves the village with five donkeys. One of the donkeys falls off the side of the mountain. After the team gets to the rock slab, there are five donkeys that are shewed away. Don't feel bad for the donkey that fell off the cliff, because clearly it survived and they got it for the next scene.

Why do the donkeys have to swim? The panning shot clearly shows shallow water just up and downstream of the pool they swam through. You can see the rocks on the bottom of the stream. I don't buy that the water would be moving to swiftly in these shallow areas.

The teenager in the village who had a yellow shirt to stand out has no lines in the movie. The yellow shirt only serves so that you can recognize him when he kills Tom. At the first night of camping, Santiago says there are 1.5-2 days left in their journey. The next day they are on the rocks camping on top of the mountain. Why you would camp in such an exposed area when it is so cold makes zero sense. Upon waking up on the mountain it should be the last day of the journey, but clearly it isn't. After killing Yellow shirt, they say he had been tracking them for days. I guess 2 days is multiple days, but really they are only 1 day form the village if they weren't loaded down with the Donkeys. The time line makes no sense. Maybe cutting the donkeys loose slowed them down three or four times slower?

How long is the team on the coast? It looks like late night partying is going on. Lets say that is 2-4am. At some point those people would tire themselves out and go to sleep right? Maybe they are all high on coke and partying until daybreak. Either way, why does the sun come up on the parties immediately after the car chase starts? It goes from dead of night to sunrise.

I didn't like the end of the movie. Tom's daughter was going to get $1.5M. That is a lot of money and should set her up for life. Meanwhile all of the rest f the guys are going to go back to crap jobs (if they still even have them) and struggle. I understand that your buddy died, but come-on you could have taken some money for yourself, you needed it. Giving half of your share to Tom's daughter would be a good gesture and you would have a nice safety net. Who is going to pay for the medical bills of the guy that got shot and survived? No way you trek through the amazon jungle, wade through rivers, and swim in the ocean without getting an infection.

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