The non-stop action of Netflix’s ‘Triple Frontier’ left little room for character development

Netflix’s newest action thriller “Triple Frontier” follows a group of five military veterans as they reunite on a mission to rob a South American drug lord of $75 million. The film is directed by J.C. Chandor, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mark Boal. Chandor is best known for his work writing and directing the films “Margin Call” (2011), “All Is Lost” (2013) and “A Most Violent Year” (2014) which all feature his signature style of leaving characters in morally ambiguous situations.

The title of the film is based off of the setting that drives the narrative. The “Triple Frontier” refers to a place along the Parana River that connects the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. After following through with their heist, the group of five companions must journey through this treacherous stretch of South American wilderness in order to find safety.

The film follows the standard plotline of getting a band of old friends back together for one last hurrah. Ben Affleck stars as one of the five veterans participating in the dangerous mission. He plays divorced parent Tom Davis who is having a rough career as a real estate agent. Each man going through with the mission had a difficult time making ends meet post-deployment. A major theme of this film was shining the light on struggling veterans of war. These are soldiers who came home after bravely defending the country, only to find themselves struggling to stay afloat back in America.

The problem with the film was the difficulty in making an emotional connection with the characters. While the writers were able to put the characters in extremely difficult moral dilemmas, there wasn’t much weight behind their decisions. This was because the characters weren’t explored deeply enough to earn investment from the audience. Consequently, the ultimate survival of each character felt less significant than it should have.

With that being said, the film does an excellent job with the action sequences that carry the second half of the storyline. The fight scenes are particularly macho and exhilarating. What begins as an intricate heist turns into a pulse-pounding race against time. Ultimately, as the stress levels continue to rise and more unexpected complications arise, the group of comrades slowly begin to go at each other’s throats. This creates an interesting group dynamic during the final action scenes.

“Triple Frontier” packs a thrilling heist, chase and army movie all into a little over two hours. Not to mention an extremely talented cast which included the likes of Affleck and Oscar Isaac. The action scenes that frequently show up throughout the plot are beautifully shot and choreographed. The film also makes an important statement as to the lack of help veterans receive after they return home.

As with many other action movies, however, the film left much to be desired on the character development end. While each character had an interesting background story, these stories were not explored deeply enough. The characters also seemed to have similar dry, stoic personalities. A little more diversity and depth when creating these roles could have gone a long way.

Rating: 3/5


Matt Souvigney is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.souvigney@uconn.edu.