REVIEW: ‘Triangle of Sadness’ Is A Film That Has To Be Seen To Be Believed

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Triangle of Sadness - But Why Tho

Describing Triangle of Sadness is not an easy feat. This is mainly due to how the film unfolds, and the events within. Watching it at Fantastic Fest 2022, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What on Earth am I watching?” But in the end, writer/director Ruben Östlund delivers a film that’s wickedly funny as well as extremely observant. Everything from social status to social media is tackled in Triangle of Sadness. Clearly, Östlund had a lot on his mind while conceiving this film.

The story revolves around Carl (Harris Dickinson) and his girlfriend Yaya (Charlbi Dean). Both are models in the fashion industry, but Yaya’s career has taken off while Carl’s is stalling, driving a wedge between the two. Carl and Yaya end up boarding a luxury cruise due to their social standing, mingling with various wealthy movers and shakers. Soon, many of the guests find themselves on an abandoned island when the yacht is ransacked by pirates. Their salvation lies with one of the crew members, Abigail (Dolly de Leon).

Triangle of Sadness is the latest in a series of films that takes shots at the ultra-wealthy and illustrates how their decadence will be their downfall. However, Östlund takes his time building up to that downfall, splitting the film into three separate acts. The first act is the weakest of the three. While it does bring up the tension between Carl and Yaya, which plays into later events, it feels otherwise disconnected from the other two acts. The titular “triangle of sadness” is also brought up, and feels just as disconnected. Yeah, it’s a cutesy model thing, but if you’re going to name the movie after a concept, that concept should have a bigger bearing on the movie.

Things pick up in the second act, where Östlund really digs into the separation between the wealthy cruise attendees and the workers. The former is more concerned with their luxurious settings and how they got their wealth. An elderly British couple built their empire selling weapons. A Russian billionaire proudly calls himself “The King of Shit” due to his thriving fertilizer empire. In contrast, the workers toil hard to fulfill every ridiculous request the guests have. Carl complains about a crew member ogling Yaya, and that crew member’s promptly fired. A guest asks one of the workers to join her in the pool, and soon all of the workers go for an employee swim. The only person who seems to not be on the same page is the captain (Woody Harrelson), who barely emerges from his ship until the captain’s dinner. Harrelson, always a treat in whatever he’s in, brings a sort of bemused detachment to his scenes.

Triangle of Sadness springs to life in its third act. Here, Östlund has a great deal of fun playing around with the passage of time. At first, everyone is confident that they’ll be saved. But soon they learn to do simple things, like hunt for food and make a shelter. It’s enough to make me wish that the entire movie took place on the island, as it has the biggest stakes and some of the funniest scenes. It’s also where the cast, especially de Leon, finds its groove. De Leon is a master of comedic timing, adding humor to even the bleakest scenes. A key example comes when she decides who gets to eat the squid she’s caught, as she pointed out her survival skills make her the de facto leader. She and Dean also have an interesting rapport, as their characters end up bonding over time. This leads to an ending that will either surprise or frustrate viewers depending on how invested they are.

Triangle of Sadness is a movie that has to be seen to be believed, mainly due to the absurd chain of events that take place during its runtime. Some may love it and some may hate it, but I can’t deny that it was an engrossing watch. Just do yourself a favor and don’t eat anything before you see it. You’ll thank me later.

Triangle of Sadness is now playing in select theaters.


Triangle of Sadness
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Triangle of Sadness is a movie that has to be seen to be believed, mainly due to the absurd chain of events that take place during its runtime. Some may love it and some may hate it, but I can’t deny that it was an engrossing watch. Just do yourself a favor and don’t eat anything before you see it. You’ll thank me later.

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