Triple Frontier

The Plot:

After retiring from Special Forces, five former operatives reunite to pull a heist against a cartel in South America. This dangerous mission tests their skills, their loyalties and their morals. Trying to escape in a sparsely populated multi-border zone, known as the Triple Frontier (between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, where the Iguaza and Parana rivers converge), pushes them to a breaking point after a few unexpected turns, which becomes a battle for survival.

Lynn’s Take:

A tense and taut action thriller from Netflix is released in theaters for a week before its March 13 streaming release, and it is edge-of-your-seat good. Featuring a strong ensemble whose seamless work is riveting, “Triple Feature” offers surprising twists at every juncture.

The smooth quintet displays a genuine bond and believably plays soldiers struggling with making a new life after their elite service. They want to find their purpose and place, and money’s tight, leading to personal issues. They feel lost and dejected, and the five really sell the crossroads they are at, and why they make their choices.

Oscar Isaac is the stalwart Santiago “Pope” Garcia, who hatches the plot after an undercover operation reveals a cartel kingpin has millions of dollars stashed at a jungle hideaway. He enlists his military buddies – Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck), William “Ironhead” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal) and Ironhead’s MMA fighting brother Ben Miller (Garrett Hedlund).

Affleck is clearly the group leader, along with "Pope," and his Redfly has the most to lose. As they all grapple with greed and guilt, he’s the character with the most anguished arc. Affleck is very effective when he’s in a muscular ensemble, like “Argo,” “The Town,” “State of Play” and “Gone Girl.”

Besides its top-shelf talent, the film has serious credentials in writing and directing. Mark Boal, Oscar winner for “The Hurt Locker,” co-wrote the screenplay with J.C. Chandor, whose examinations of money and power resulted in the superb “Margin Call” and “A Most Violent Year.” Chandor directs with a sharp eye, and the cinematography in this tough terrain is as compelling as the moral quandaries.

Sure, the characters could have been fleshed out more, but the story is an intense journey with numerous eye-popping turns. And the Disasterpeace score captures the urgency of this mission, just like they did in “It Follows.”

The layered script offers more than the physical issues, and those conflicts make this a powerful narrative that succeeds on many levels.