Triple Frontier

Triple Frontier ★★★★

This is the price of being a warrior.

It would have been very easy to make this a simple-minded action flick, disregarding nuance and simply delivering pulse-pounding thrills. The famous Metallica song that opens the film asks "For Whom The Bell Tolls?" , and to answer back the film shows simply that it tolls for thee. What one member of a unit does echoes into the lives of the others. Every decision made in Triple Frontier has a result, a consequence. This causality of action is clear and resounding.

These men are certainly not saints, but neither are they rudimentary tools in the way they've been used by their country. Each one carries a weight- and though what specifically they have all done is not elaborated upon, what is made quite clear is that they are not unaffected by it. Each and every one of them has been chewed up and spit out, which leads to them uniting to vault out of the ruts they have been cornered into. It is this desperation that makes their actions here make sense.

This isn't to say it's all doom-and-gloom introspection. The action scenes are all incredibly gripping while also toeing the line between viscerality and glorification. The camera holds enough for the viewer to feel the gravity of this violence, but not too long so as to revel in it. The film also has a powerful sense of intertia; once it finds its ground the momentum glides along in a journey to the finish. There is also a very tactful understanding of how music should function here, giving just the right amount of balance between the Metallica-infused needle drops and the skillfully understated Disasterpeace score.

With characterizations in this gruff and not overly expressive manner, a lot of the character work relies on the actors playing these parts. Luckily for the film all 5 leads have a firm understanding of the tone and pacing of it. Hunnam and Affleck in particular stand out as very commanding of the screen and the most well-realized of an overall very game cast. FIlmmaker JC Chandor has a strong command of this combative masculinity and how it ultimately could lead to their undoing.

There is a part of me that wishes the film would have dove deeper into the root of their motivation, though what it did deliver was largely effective. But the overall through-line of what the weight of all this money is drives the story in a very satisfying direction. The weight they carry with them individually also never ceases, suggesting our past is always in the rearview. For these men it's not a simple as the obstacles in front of them, it's also the ones inside of them.

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