‘Triple Frontier’ review: Ben Affleck leads an all-star jungle heist

Triple Frontier’ adds flare to the masculine genre by incorporating moral and psychological underpinnings on brotherhood vs. greed.

In a time where gender inclusivity is a must, it might seem that the testosterone-driven Triple Frontier is a step back for the action genre. But really, who would complain with this macho powerhouse casting? In here, our gang of former military veterans consists of Redfly (Ben Affleck), a struggling real estate agent/divorced dad; Pope (Oscar Isaac), a private military contractor who serves as the brains of the operation; Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam), an inspirational speaker to Special Forces recruits; Benny (Garrett Hedlund), an MMA fighter; and Catfish (Pedro Pascal), a pilot who recently lost his license due to cocaine smuggling. Also, Hunnam and Hedlund play brothers in the film which is quite brilliant since they actually look a lot like.

The film spends the first half hour in reuniting the team for a one final, life-changing gig: to exterminate a drug lord named Lorea and seize his ill-gotten wealth of approximately $75 million for themselves. His base mansion is situated in the middle of a jungle and the crew must find a way to smuggle the cash through a perilous terrain known as the “Triple Frontier.” Hence, the film’s namesake.

(L-R): Pedro Pascal (Francisco “Catfish” Morales), Garrett Hedlund (Ben Miller), Charlie Hunnam (William “Ironhead” Miller), and Ben Affleck (Tom “Redfly” Davis).

While it feels wrong to see former military men violate their deep-sworn vows, the film gives a strong case to justify their actions. Considering they all have taken at least one bullet for their country, it seems unfair that society has not properly rewarded them – none of them are financially secure at their current retirement jobs. Triple Frontier has something to say on the state’s lack of regard towards veterans, as well as when it comes to re-examining our views on forcefully getting what we deserve. It’s a controversial moral gray area that the film utilizes to its benefit.

The narrative might seem like a cross between Ocean and Mission: Impossible franchise but the heist here is actually just a thin aspect. Infiltrating the drug lord’s compound is the easier task. When faced with tons of money, greed starts to consume our anti-heroes and before they know it, they’re out transporting a horde of cash via helicopter – way more than they agreed to steal. By not sticking to the plan, they’re suddenly faced with life and death dilemmas, none of which they have anticipated. Their brotherhood gets tested in fire and slowly, pieces of their humanity starts to peel off. As their situation grows more stressful and desperate, a tragic irony befalls: at some point, they might have to let go of the money for them to survive.

Oscar Isaac (Santiago “Pope” Garcia) and Ben Affleck (Tom “Redfly” Davis)

It’s a bold decision for director/co-writer J.C. Chandor to take an unconventional path of psychologically draining yet nevertheless, exhilarating survivalist flick. He knows how to heighten the suspense and tension with every obstacle that the group face, and Roman Vasyanov’s camerawork vividly captures the well-staged stunts and visceral setpieces. For a Netflix streaming release, Triple Frontier has the look and feel of a motion picture.

When it comes to individual characterization, there are some missed opportunities. With huge money involved, the script fails to delve into the personal motivations of some characters, apart from getting rich. Hence, we don’t really care for the money, as much as we care for their survival.

(L-R): Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal in ‘Triple Frontier.’

This is a film that greatly benefits from its main cast’s solid performance. Affleck has always been reliable in his brand of gloomy and understated acting while Isaac has also enough charisma in him so as not to be upstaged. Unfortunately, Hunnam, Hedland and Pascal get the shorter end of the sticks with thinner materials to work with. They eventually end up as stock characters who achieve depth mainly due to their great performances. Otherwise, the gang has a natural chemistry as a whole, making it feel like there’s a real sense of shared history present.

By incorporating thoughtful psychological and moral underpinnings on brotherhood vs. greed, Triple Frontier delivers a different level of firepower not present in typical high-octane action thrillers. This proves to have more brains than brawn. For that, the lack of feminine representation shall be excused.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by J. C. Chandor and written by Mark Boal and J.C. Chandor, ‘Triple Frontier‘ stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal and Adria Arjona. Run time: 125 minutes.

Matt Reeves to direct, produce ‘The Batman’

Burbank, CA – February 23, 2017 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield”) has been set to direct “The Batman.” Reeves will also serve as a producer on the new standalone action adventure centering on one of DC’s most enduringly popular Super Heroes. The announcement was made by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Emmerich stated, “We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, the crown jewel of our DC slate. Matt’s deep roots in genre films and his evolution into an emotional world-building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through this next journey.”

Matt Reeves noted, “I have loved the Batman story since I was a child. He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.”

Batman was created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.

“The Batman” will be distributed worldwide by WPLarner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Ben Affleck plays gangster with conscience in ‘Live by Night’

Two-time Academy Award-winner Ben Affleck – most recently seen in the critically praised The Accountant and in early 2016 playing crime fighting icon Batman/Bruce Wayne in the global blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – now directs and stars in Warner Bros. Pictures’ new gangster film Live by Night.

Affleck plays Joe Coughlin who went overseas to fight valiantly for his country, but quickly found himself utterly disillusioned by the war. He ultimately finds himself back home in, as he tells us, a life he didn’t expect…paying the price for the American dream.
“Joe fully acknowledges that he’s chosen to be an outlaw in a town run by gangsters, with the Irish and Italian mobs at war,” offers Affleck. “What I find most intriguing about him though is that, while he breaks the law and makes his own rules, it’s his own morality that prevents him from considering himself one of them, a gangster.”
But it’s Joe’s inherent sense of decency that could be his undoing.

For the ten years following the war, Joe Coughlin managed to live like an outlaw—under his policeman father’s roof, no less—before it all caught up to him. “The things that Joe witnessed as a soldier made him decide there wasn’t any meaning to the rules we follow in life, to playing it straight,” Affleck states. “He even sees the organized hierarchical nature of the gangster life as an equal anathema to the hierarchy of the military. He wants no part of that, no part of taking orders from anybody. He’s going to make his own rules.”

And he does so with a fair amount of success, so long as he keeps it, as Affleck describes, “small-time, running around with just two other guys and doing little stick-ups, that kind of thing.”

But it isn’t Joe’s distaste for authority, or even an ill-chosen robbery, that causes him to make his gravest error. It’s love. And it’s that singular emotion in its many forms—from passion to compassion—that will continue to be his downfall for years to come.

Live by Night was a true passion project for Affleck, who says, “As a filmmaker, this was a chance to pay homage to the classic Warner Bros. gangster movies of the 1930s through the `70s. I grew up watching them and they had an epic, sprawling feel that really took you into a different world, a different era.”

Affleck adapted the screenplay from author Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name; the two first collaborated when Affleck made his acclaimed directorial debut with his screen adaptation of Lehane’s crime thriller Gone, Baby, Gone. Lehane served as an executive producer on Live by Night.

As a lifelong film buff, Affleck posits that the story has all the tropes that made him a fan of the gangster genre in particular: beautiful women, dangerous men, cops, the mob, shootouts, car chases…the whole fiery, combustible mix. “As soon as I read Dennis’s book I knew that there was something there for anyone who just really likes to have a great time at the movies.”

Opening across the Philippines on January 18, 2017, Live By Night is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

‘Live by Night’ main poster confirms Ben Affleck’s antihero role

Warner Bros. Pictures has just revealed the payoff poster of the crime thriller Live by Night showing a gun-pointing Ben Affleck, all-suited up as a mobster. The tagline confirms that his character is an antihero: “Joe Was Once a Good Man.”

Check out the poster below and watch Live by Night when it opens in Philippine cinemas on January 18, 2017.

Aside from directing and acting on the film, Affleck wrote the screenplay, based on the award-winning best-seller by Dennis Lehane; it marks the second collaboration for the fellow Boston natives, following the acclaimed drama “Gone Baby Gone.”

live-by-night-movie

What you put out into this world will always come back to you, but it never comes back how you predict. Taking fatherly advice is not in Joe Coughlin’s nature. Instead, the WWI vet is a self-proclaimed anti-establishment outlaw, despite being the son of the Boston Police Deputy Superintendent. Joe’s not all bad, though; in fact, he’s not really bad enough for the life he’s chosen. Unlike the gangsters he refuses to work for, he has a sense of justice and an open heart, and both work against him, leaving him vulnerable time and again—in business and in love. Driven by a need to right the wrongs committed against him and those close to him, Joe heads down a risky path that goes against his upbringing and his own moral code. Leaving the cold Boston winter behind, he and his reckless crew turn up the heat in Tampa. And while revenge may taste sweeter than the molasses that infuses every drop of illegal rum he runs, Joe will learn that it comes at a price.

Starring with Affleck are Elle Fanning (“Maleficent”), Brendan Gleeson (the “Harry Potter” films), Chris Messina (“Argo”), Sienna Miller (“American Sniper”), Zoe Saldana (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avatar”), and Oscar winner Chris Cooper (“The Town”).

“Live By Night” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Ben Affleck learns Indonesian fighting style for ‘The Accountant’

Ben Affleck stars in Warner Bros.’ action-thriller The Accountant as Christian Wolff, a specially trained assassin who happens to be a math savant suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. Director Gavin O’Connor knew that Christian should have an idiosyncratic fighting style, forged by his childhood training and his personal penchant for order.
O’Connor maintains, “I wanted to approach the action through character, with the thought being when Chris got into a situation that required violence, he would eliminate the threat as quickly and economically as possible. It’s math. It’s ‘How do I make my move and get them off the chessboard?’”

Conferring with stunt coordinators Sam Hargrave and Fernando Chien, the director explored various types of martial arts. Nothing quite fit the bill until they showed him an Indonesian method that is less widely known, called pentjak silat. “I immediately said, ‘I want that,” he recalls. “I’d never even heard of silat before, but it’s incredibly efficient, so it served our purpose in a very cinematic way. We honed in on that form and built the action around it.”

Hargrave and Chien, together with their stunt team, started training Affleck, keeping in mind O’Connor’s desire to mirror Chris’s persona in the action. Chien confirms, “His style needed to be almost surgical—very linear and direct. He wouldn’t bounce around like a boxer. We mainly focused on silat, but because of how dynamic Ben needed to be in his fights, we also taught him judo, jiu-jitsu…everything from the ground up, but extremely stylized.”

the accountant movie

“This martial arts technique hasn’t been seen in too many movies before so it felt fresh and new,” Affleck says. “I loved the style, so I dove into training as hard as I could. I spent months ahead of filming learning elaborate fight choreography, which involved a lot of flips and throws. Performing almost all of the action myself was difficult and demanding, but, luckily, I had the benefit of some really strong coaches and stunt performers who came up with some cool and unique stuff for me to do. It was very intense, but when it all came together and was done right, it could be beautiful and elegant, even though it was brutal.”

Chien acknowledges that Affleck, who came into the film right after portraying Batman, was already in fighting shape—just not in the same way that Christian had to be. “For that film, he became really buff and muscular, but this character needed to be slick and more quick—very direct and explosive—so we did more martial arts conditioning with a lot of dynamic movements.”

Hargrove adds, “We had a small gym where we would go for about two hours a day. Fernando and I put him through his paces, making drills out of the choreography and having Ben practice them over and over again until every move became like second nature to him. We sometimes drove him to the point of exhaustion, but Ben never gave up. He put in the work and came back stronger every day.”

O’Connor observes, “Ben had to travel different paths in making sure we got both the physical and emotional aspects of the character right, which was vital. He was working out every day and getting all the choreography down because he was doing most of it himself. In just a short amount of time, he had to look like he’d been studying his entire life, so it was a crash course for him and I think he did an amazing job.”

Opening across the Philippines on November 2, 2016, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

WATCH: First trailer for Ben Affleck’s ‘Live by Night’

Warner Bros. Pictures has just revealed the first trailer of Ben Affleck’s latest directorial effort, the dramatic crime thriller “Live by Night.” View the trailer below.

Affleck also stars in the film and wrote the screenplay, based on the award-winning best-seller by Dennis Lehane; it marks the second collaboration for the fellow Boston natives, following the acclaimed drama “Gone Baby Gone.”

“Live by Night” is set in the roaring `20s when Prohibition hasn’t stopped the flow of booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. The opportunity to gain power and money is there for any man with enough ambition and nerve and Joe Coughlin (Affleck), the son of the Boston Police Superintendent, long ago turned his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. But even among criminals there are rules and Joe breaks a big one: crossing a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll. The fiery affair ends in tragedy, setting Joe on a path of revenge, ambition, romance and betrayal that propels him out of Boston and up the ladder of Tampa’s steamy rum-running underworld.

“Live by Night” is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Jennifer Davisson (“Orphan”), under the Appian Way banner; and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Todd (“Alice in Wonderland”) for Pearl Street Films. Chris Brigham, Dennis Lehane and Chay Carter are serving as executive producers.

Starring with Affleck are Elle Fanning (“Maleficent”), Brendan Gleeson (the “Harry Potter” films), Chris Messina (“Argo”), Sienna Miller (“American Sniper”), Zoe Saldana (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avatar”), and Oscar winner Chris Cooper (“The Town”).

Behind the scenes, Affleck collaborated with three-time Oscar-winning director of photography Robert Richardson (“JFK,” “The Aviator,” “Hugo”), Oscar-nominated production designer Jess Gonchor (“True Grit”), Oscar-winning editor William Goldenberg (“Argo”), and Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”). The score is composed by Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Martian,” “Gone Baby Gone”).

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, an Appian Way/Pearl Street production, “Live by Night” is slated for release in the Philippines in 2017, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

WATCH: Ben Affleck is ‘The Accountant’ in action thriller’s main trailer

The main trailer for Warner Bros. Pictures’ new suspense thriller “The Accountant” starring Ben Affleck has just been released and may be viewed below.

In the film, Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

the accountant ben affleck anna kendrick

“The Accountant” also stars Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick, Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jean Smart and Cynthia Addai-Robinson, with Jeffrey Tambor and two-time Oscar nominee John Lithgow.

O’Connor directed the film from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”). The film was produced by Mark Williams and Lynette Howell, with O’Connor, Jamie Patricof and Marty Ewing serving as executive producers.

Opening across the Philippines on October 19, 2016, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

‘The Accountant’ teaser poster shows Ben Affleck gunning for action

The teaser poster for Warner Bros. Pictures’ new suspense thriller “The Accountant” has been released, showing Oscar winner Ben Affleck (“Argo,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) holding a rifle, but “blinded” by numerical data.

Directed by Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”), “The Accountant” tells the story of Christian Wolff (Affleck), a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

the accountant ben affleck anna kendrick

“The Accountant” also stars Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air,” “Pitch Perfect”), Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash,” the “Spider-Man” films), Jon Bernthal (“Fury,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jean Smart (TV’s “Fargo,” “24”), and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”), with Jeffrey Tambor (TV’s “Transparent,” “The Hangover” films) and two-time Oscar nominee John Lithgow (“Interstellar”).

O’Connor directed the film from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”).

Opening across the Philippines on November 2, 2016, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

WATCH: Ben Affleck’s ‘The Accountant’ debuts first trailer

Warner Bros. Pictures presents Oscar winner Ben Affleck (“Argo,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) in the title role of “The Accountant,” from director Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”). Watch the first trailer from the new suspense thriller below.

In the film, Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

“The Accountant” also stars Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air,” “Pitch Perfect”), Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash,” the “Spider-Man” films), Jon Bernthal (“Fury,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jean Smart (TV’s “Fargo,” “24”), and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”), with Jeffrey Tambor (TV’s “Transparent,” “The Hangover” films) and two-time Oscar nominee John Lithgow (“Interstellar”).

O’Connor directed the film from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”). The film was produced by Mark Williams and Lynette Howell, with O’Connor, Jamie Patricof and Marty Ewing serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team includes two-time Oscar-nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey (“Anna Karenina,” “Atonement,” upcoming “Pan”), production designer Keith Cunningham, Oscar-nominated editor Richard Pearson (“United 93”), costume designer Nancy Steiner, and Oscar-nominated composer Mark Isham (“Warrior,” “A River Runs Through It”).

Opening across the Philippines on October 19, 2016, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.