At first blush, Triple Frontier looks like just another movie about getting the gang back together again. Oscar Isaac has been working with a South American government on drug busts when he comes up with the bright idea to rob the region’s leading drug lord. For this, he recruits his old military pals Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund, and Charlie Hunnam. Together, they venture south for a rejoining somewhere in Brazil. The jungles! The sandy beaches! The opportunity to see a certain someone’s exposed back tattoo! (Or, actually, to not see a certain someone’s back tattoo.) But this is a mission, not a vacation: The drug lord stores his cash in his fortress-home. What’s more, the guy never leaves the house!
Most of the movie is spent not on the buildup to the mission or the robbery itself, but their friendships. When five guys schlep a bunch of money around in the jungle, there is more fussing than a Real Housewives reunion. It’s a satisfying watch for someone who, like me, cares very little about American imperialism and military operations, but cares quite a bit about being as childish and dramatic as possible. Forget the “job” — Triple Frontier is a movie about horny onscreen bromances.
At various points, the movie was supposed to star Will Smith, Channing Tatum, Tom Hardy, Mahershala Ali, Casey Affleck, and Mark Wahlberg. (Ah, what could’ve been!) But of the movie’s murderers’ row of hurly-burly talent that actually appears onscreen — Affleck, Pascal, Hedlund, Hunnam, and Isaac — whose friendship is the horniest, the bro-iest, the thickest with chemistry? A lot of movies wanna rob, but who can milk a bromance for all its worth? Vulture has ranked Triple Frontier’s top five bromances.
Charlie Hunnam and Ben Affleck
What’s their characters’ relationship in the movie? Charlie Hunnam’s character Ironhead says that he’ll only do the mission if Redfly (Ben Affleck) is also signed on. Redfly — now shilling shitty condos — was the guys’ captain, and is a whiz at planning.
Have the two actors worked together before? No, but I can’t stop wondering how many times Charlie Hunnam watched Good Will Hunting as a wee boy growing up in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
How good are they at press? Ben Affleck did whisper sweet nothings into Charlie Hunnam’s ear at the Triple Frontier premiere. That kind of outdoes everything else.
What were they doing during the infamous beach photo shoot? Ben Affleck was considering the mysteries of the universe with a towel wrapped around his waist. Charlie Hunnam was play-fighting with Garrett Hedlund. Different strokes for different folks!
Do they kiss onscreen? No.
Should they kiss onscreen? Everyone should be kissing in this movie.
What’s the final verdict? We see Charlie Hunnam’s fake forearm tattoo in nearly every one of his Triple Frontier scenes. We see Ben Affleck’s real back tattoo exactly zero times. A disgrace! But I’m getting away from myself. No, this bromance ranks pretty low on the list: Ironhead respects and admires Redfly too much for this to be a bromance. They need to be more playful and sarcastic with each other — it’s entirely too wholesome as is.
Garrett Hedlund and Oscar Isaac
What’s their characters’ relationship in the movie? Oscar Isaac is Santiago “Pope” Garcia, the architect of the Triple Frontier boys’ scheme. (He is not a pope, or the pope — this nickname is never really explained.) Garrett Hedlund is Charlie Hunnam’s younger brother and definitely the one that is the wildest and most carefree.
Have the actors worked together before? Yes, thrice: First on Inside Llewyn Davis, then on Mojave, and now Triple Frontier.
How good are they at press? Watching their junket interviews together makes me think that even if I were with my very best friend — Molly, who sat next to me the first day of junior year and just this morning texted me saying that the 2007 romantic comedy Music and Lyrics is just the “weakass bitch” version of A Star Is Born — being stuck in a dark room doing press all day would absolutely be the worst way to spend a Saturday. Basically, their interviews make me want to pluck out my eyelashes one by one.
What were they doing during the infamous beach photo shoot? Hedlund was loving up on his bro Hunnam! And Oscar Isaac was engaged, but mostly watching.
Do they kiss onscreen? No.
Should they kiss onscreen? Oscar Isaac should do a lot more kissing in more movies, so yes.
What’s the final verdict? I definitely believe that they know each other and are friendly, but there is really not a whole lot of spark here. Their Triple Frontier characters barely speak after the initial recruitment until an exchange during the very dramatic climax. I can’t imagine them shopping at a HomeGoods store or making dinner together. (I’m not sure what men do when they hang out other than listen to Drake and not wash their faces.) They seem like friends at the level of, like, throwing a “haha” reaction at someone’s joke in the group chat, but no more and no less.
Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck
What’s their characters’ relationship in the movie? As Pope, Oscar Isaac is basically the robbery’s secretary: He arranges all the intel, collects the phony passports, and recruits all the guys. Ben Affleck, playing Re/Max agent Tom “Redfly” Davis, is the brains of the actual operation and the leader once they start the robbery.
Have the actors worked together before? Nope! But Ben Affleck in a future Star Wars … I would like to see it …
How good are they at press? Very mellow, but Ben spends several moments talking about how good Oscar Isaac’s butt looks in a scene where he has to run basically 48 miles in a pair of tight jeans.
What were they doing during the infamous beach photo shoot? Ben Affleck was looking very somber and staring out in the ocean. Oscar Isaac was mostly minding his own business and talking to the blonde brothers, Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund.
Do they kiss onscreen? No, but they do yell at each other a lot and very closely. Redfly and Pope are the two leads and have the clearest conflict: Pope wants the money, but wants to kill the evil drug lord more. Redfly wants the money, but it compromises his honor. In one scene Redfly questions Pope’s informant-girlfriend, and asks about the informant-girlfriend’s pillow talk with Pope in a way that doesn’t seem entirely necessary to sussing out the information he’s after. Makes you think!
Should they kiss onscreen? Yes! Oscar Isaac’s character loves Ben Affleck’s character so much, even when they’re fussing! It’s very endearing. He playfully teases Ben Affleck’s character for selling shitty condos, and sort of tells Ben Affleck’s teen daughter that she should be nicer to her dad.
What’s the final verdict? Redfly and Pope — Affleck and Isaac — butt heads the most and have the most complicated relationship. But they love each other! Still, their bromance is not the horniest.
Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund
What’s their characters’ relationship in the movie? Charlie Hunnam is William “Ironhead” Miller, big brother to Garrett Hedlund’s Ben “No Nickname, He’s Just the Young One” Miller. Ironhead lectures soldiers who’ve just returned from combat. Ben does some kind of MMA fighting for small crowds, and wears a lot of hats backward. I would guess that he also has a robust Tinder presence and a profile full of himself posing with pictures of big fish he’s caught. He just seems like the type.
Have the actors worked together before? No, but they’ve been “best pals for 15 years,” according to an interview they did with the Associated Press.
How good are they at press? In several interviews they playfully tease each other about how they’re so super close in a way that is kind of cute. Garrett slept on Charlie’s couch for a while because they’re just that close.
What were they doing during the infamous beach photo shoot? They were wrestling on the sand! They were wrestling in the water! They were wrestling with paddle boards! They were wrestling without paddle boards! It’s sooooo Everybody Wants Some!! horny, and the only kind of athletics I care about. (When I become a basketball wife, this post will self-destruct.)
Do they kiss onscreen? No. It would be so weird if they did because they’re “playing” “brothers.”
Should they kiss onscreen? I want to say no because incest is gross! But if they did kiss this would graduate from a Netflix movie to an HBO limited series real quick. That said, their performances during that beach photo shoot make a great case that they could do some real rearranging of one another’s guts.
What’s the final verdict? The Hunnam-Hedlund energy is palpable, but it is not infectious. I am personally not inspired to do any beach roughhousing, though I would like to watch them do a lot of it. The best bromance needs to inspire more than voyeurism; it should inspire joy!
Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac
What’s their characters’ relationship in the movie? They’re just regular buddies. Catfish (Pascal) is the pilot on the mission, and seems especially ashamed to tell Pope that he’s caught up in a minor coke bust that results in the suspension of his pilot license. They are the only two Triple Frontier men who speak fluent Spanish, so sometimes they speak in Spanish together.
Have the actors worked together before? They were in an Off Broadway play called Beauty of the Father in 2005. Isaac convinced Pascal to join the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian, so they are both part of the Star Wars universe.
How good are they at press? For better or worse, I am a connoisseur of Wired’s Autocomplete Interviews. They are everything I want in shameless attempts at internet virality: random and goofy, but also gentle and ASMR-like, their banter as comforting as the peeling off of a sticker from foam poster board. There’s no way to fake your way through a Wired Autocomplete with someone you only half-know or half-like. It cannot be done. Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac, unfortunately for me, are perfect at this weird, dumb interview series. They are extremely playful, extremely flirtatious, and laugh robustly at their own inside jokes. It is basically pornographic.
Look at the way Oscar Isaac trains his peepers on Pedro Pascal and fact-checks him in real time. Look at the way Pedro Pascal tells Oscar Isaac he looks like a Muppet with pronounced eyebrows. This is the closest I’ve come to the “Shallow” performance since the “Shallow” performance.
What were they doing during the infamous beach photo shoot? Pedro Pascal was not there!!!!!!
Do they kiss onscreen? Stunningly, they do not kiss.
Should they kiss onscreen? I want them to kiss. I want them to go on long pap walks through Brooklyn. I want them to have a podcast. I want them to do it all!
What’s the final verdict? Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac … they are the mother I never had. They are the best friend everybody deserves. I don’t know a better bromance. I don’t know a better bromance!