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Warning: SPOILERS for Netflix’s Triple Frontier are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet and would like to remain unspoiled, please bookmark this story and return once you’ve caught up.
Towards the end of Triple Frontier’s second act, a pretty big death occurs. As the team of veteran warfighters are making their way through the treacherous mountains that stand between them and their rich escape, a surprise shooter gets the jump on the team.
That shooter is the son of a farmer murdered by Ben Affleck’s Tom “Redfly” Davis, and as fast as you can say “karma,” the young man sneaks up behind Redfly and shoots him in the head. If you thought you were surprised when co-writer/director J.C. Chandor dropped that twist into the film, just wait until you hear about how the audience at the film’s big premiere, courtesy of two of the film’s producers.
During a recent talk with CinemaBlend, producers Charles Roven, Alex Gartner and Andy Horowitz were on hand to discuss Triple Frontier, one of the recent Netflix projects made under their Atlas Entertainment production company. In particular, it was Roven and Horowitz who recounted how Triple Frontier’s killer reveal hit one of the first audiences to see the film. That story went as follows:
Roven: ‘In our premiere screening, the whole auditorium gasped. It was, really, nobody saw it coming.’
Horowitz: ‘As soon as you saw that guy pop up behind [Ben Affleck,] there was just an audible gasp. And then, of course, when the deed happened, I remember people around me just screaming, ‘No!’ It was really quite a moment at the premiere.’
As if surprising audiences watching Triple Frontier at home wasn’t enough, Ben Affleck’s big death scene turned a Hollywood premiere into a setting as interesting as any theater showing a moment of that caliber. Listening to Charles Roven and Andy Horowitz discussing this moment only made the story that much sweeter, as you could tell that they had a lot of fun keeping that big twist secret.
Hearing that the Triple Frontier twist played so well in front of an audience of professional peers is pretty entertaining, but it’s also pretty much a vindication of the request that Ben Affleck made for Redfly’s fate during the production of the film.
During the extensive reworking that J.C. Chandor had done on the original Mark Boal script for the film, Affleck had the idea to sacrifice Redfly instead of an unnamed secondary character. This idea met with the approval of the powers that be, and flash -orward to the finished product, you’re met a tense as hell gun battle in the mountains. It’s also capped off by one of the most surprising movie deaths since Janet Leigh in Psycho.
The shifting rhythm of Triple Frontier’s action-fueled and drama-driven halves of the plot at hand needed a moment to jump start its pulse, so as to shake up the audience. Redfly’s death did just that, and if focus group data isn’t enough to support that, then try the fact that even those who work in the Hollywood industry had their minds blown during that fateful premiere of this very film. A fact that makes any possible sequel talk all the more complicated, because how do you beat a moment like that?
Triple Frontier is currently streaming on Netflix.
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