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Film / Triple Frontier

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Triple Frontier is a 2019 American action thriller film directed by J. C. Chandor and written by Chandor and Mark Boal, from a story by the latter.

Five friends, all military veterans, reunite for a recon job with the target being Lorea, a ruthless South American drug lord whose compound is located in the Amazon rainforest, near the tri-border between Colombia, Brazil and Peru (hence the title). Once they get there, they decide to rob the millions in cash that Lorea keeps instead. Loyalties are then put to the test, and a chain of unintended consequences are unleashed.

The cast includes Oscar Isaac as Santiago "Pope" Gomez, Ben Affleck as Tom "Redfly" Davis, Charlie Hunnam as William "Ironhead" Miller, Garrett Hedlund as Ben "Benny" Miller, Pedro Pascal as Francisco "Catfish" Morales, Adria Arjona as Yovanna, Sheila Vand as Lauren Yates and Reynaldo Gallegos as Gabriel Martin Lorea.


The film was produced by Netflix and released on the service on March 13, 2019. It also had a limited theatrical release on March 6.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

Triple Frontier provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero Team: Four ex-military and a private military contractor embarking on a heist that qualifies as a crime.
  • Anyone Can Die: Redfly.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The team makes it home, but Redfly has died and the biggest part of the money had to be abandoned in a crevasse in the Andes. Then everyone in the team donates their (not unsignificant, but much less sizeable than expected) share of the money from the heist to Redfly's family, so it was pretty much All for Nothing for them personally, or so it seems... until Pope is given the geographic coordinates of the money by Ironhead, so he'll certainly plan an operation to get there and pick it up.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • One of the young villagers who followed the team to avenge those who died on the cocaine field gets killed by Redfly with a shot to the head.
    • The very next second, Redfly abruptly meets his demise when the other young man ambushes him from behind and shoots him in the head.
  • The Caper: A crew of ex-soldiers is assembled to do recon job on a drug cartel's compound, and Pope comes at each of them to convince them to join in. Then they simply decide to steal the cartel's money.
  • Caper Rationalization: Redfly has his daughter's future more than personal gain in mind throughout the heist. And the team robs a ruthless drug cartel that has blood on its hands.
  • The Cartel: The five friends plan to rob Gabriel Martin Lorea, a South American drug lord.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Quite a few F-bombs are thrown around when the team is cold-camping in the Andes.
  • Crapsack World: Many people the team comes across from the jungle all the way to the ocean live off the drug trade and are armed, which shows said trade's ugly prominence on the economy and life of these areas. The team finds itself forced to shoot at Trigger Happy family men and young men more than once.
  • Dead Star Walking: Ben Affleck is the biggest name to star in this film, and his character gets killed quite abruptly with a headshot about 2/3rds into the picture, without any last word.
  • Death by Materialism: Redfly, in retrospect. Had he not insisted to overload the van and later on the helicopter with more money, the helicopter wouldn't have crashed and the perilous journey on foot to the ocean that cost him his life wouldn't have happened.
  • Due to the Dead: In addition to the money, the team carries the body of Redfly, not wanting to leave it to rot in the Andes.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In his speech before the team goes on the heist, Redfly insists that no women or children must be hurt.
    • After shooting the Trigger Happy cocaine-cultivating villagers, Redfly and Pope leave a chunk of the money to the village's chief to compensate the families the best (and only) way they can.
  • Everyone Is Armed: The male villagers who cultivate cocaine on the field the helicopter crashed in all carry handguns, and they start to draw them at Redfly and Pope while the two are still peacefully trying to negociate with them. Redfly and Catfish then have no choice but to gun them down.
  • Fatal Flaw: The greed of some team members leads to major troubles that derail the entire operation.
  • From Bad to Worse: The team planned to pull off the heist without killing anyone bar Lorea. They end up forced to kill all of Lorea's henchmen when greed pushes them (mostly because of Redfly) to pick up more money. Then the helicopter crashes in a cocaine field, and the team finds out that the locals are armed and Trigger Happy, and the body count keeps piling up.
  • Gold Fever: Redfly's glee when destroying the walls of Lorea's house to take more money is comparable to this.
  • Gut Punch: Redfly's abrupt death, which signals that Anyone Can Die.
  • Hellish Copter: The helicopter the team uses to escape with the money after the heist is overloaded with money, so much so that its engine can't withstand both the load and altitude when they ascend over the Andes, and it ends up crashing in a cocaine field.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: The team takes measures to ensure they will strike when the children are not around. They narrowly miss the children when they make their getaway.
  • It's Personal:
    • Pope really takes it personally to kill Lorea, given how long he's been trying to bring the cartel down when in his military force.
    • The cocaine farming village boys wanting to avenge the death of their fellow villagers or family members.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: Only Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal are placed below their respective names on the poster. The others have their names switched.
  • The Mole: Pope's girlfriend Yovanna is his mole in the compound.
  • Money to Burn: Benny starts burning a banknote, then a bundle, then a whole bag of the money to make a campfire despite Redfly's orders to cold-camp.
    • Plus there was still plenty of money inside the walls of Lorea's mansion when the team blew it up.
  • Mood Whiplash: That funny Cluster F-Bomb camping scene? It's followed right away by a shootout and the death of a main character the next morning.
  • My Greatest Failure: Redfly is haunted by his many past mistakes.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The two trailers make the viewers think Lorea's cartel will be a major threat and relentlessly chase the team after their getaway. Lorea's men are actually quickly dealt with in his house, and the main threats the team encounters afterwards are cocaine farmers and a heavily armed Peruvian gang.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Catfish says this word for word when he finds out there are children in the compound as the team is doing reconnaissance job before invading it.
  • One Last Job: Four out of the five friends left their military career behind and don't have much income since they're back into civilian life, while Pope isn't happy with being a private military contractor. They end up risking their lives one last time to get crazy rich.
  • Private Military Contractors: Pope works in a private military force that fights drug cartels.
  • Red Baron: Four out of the five have nicknames: Tom "Redfly" Davis, Santiago "Pope" Gomez, William "Ironhead" Miller and Francisco "Catfish" Morales.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: The five friends' goal is to rob a drug cartel from its money.
  • Stubborn Mule: One of the mules refuses to move forward while the team is crossing a narrow and steep smuggling way on the flank of a mountain. It winds up falling to its death
  • Suicide Mission: The recon job is already risky, but the mission turns into this as soon as the team decides to rob the cartel and cross several dangerous areas full of armed people to escape.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Redly gets abruptly shot in the head, with no last word whatsoever.
  • Unflinching Walk: Benny doesn't look behind him when walking towards the vans as the compound explodes.
  • Unsafe Haven: It turns out Lorea has no safe. He turned his house into the safe, by hiding the money in hollow compartments of its walls, which makes it really easy for the team to steal once they figure this out.
  • Wall of Weapons: Pope has hidden plenty of weapons on the walls inside a container for the team to use to pull off the robbery. They're all sourced in the country so local gangs will be suspected.
  • You Killed My Father: Two sons of the men Redfly and Pope had to shoot after the helicopter crash follow the team for revenge in the Andes. One of them kills Redfly.


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