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Quick Review: Triangle Of Sadness
The Winner Of This Year's Cannes Film Festival
The following is my review for the film Triangle Of Sadness. A reminder, you can click this link to see how I score films when I review them.
Models Carl and Yaya are invited for a luxury cruise with a rogues’ gallery of super-rich passengers. At first, all appears “Instagrammable”, but the cruise ends catastrophically, and the group find themselves marooned on a desert island.
Well respected international Director Ruben Östlund took his latest project in Triangle Of Sadness and propelled it all the way to a win at the Cannes film festival earlier this year, automatically getting itself into the Best Picture race for awards season. Finally after months of festival runs, its come out to the public at-large the last few weeks and I went into my screening of the film with high hopes given the praise its received among some fellow critics.
The movie is told in three parts. The first introducing us to our two leads in models Carl (Played by Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Played by the tragically now late Charlbi Dean). The second being the biggest chunk of the film taking place during the yacht sailing with Woody Harrelson getting time to shine as Captain of the ship. And the third taking place in the Island they’re marooned on where Dolly de Leon literally comes out of nowhere to take over the movie as Abigail, a lowly cleaning lady.
The wit and satire this movie brings at times is almost close to genius in the way it takes shots at elites, wealthy brats, the social media obsessed youth, and pokes at the debate between capitalism and socialism. I found myself laughing out loud a few times here or there. It also takes bold choices in that characters you meet in certain parts aren’t around for others, and one character that is completely invisible suddenly becomes a major role in the final act.
But the biggest highlight for me was the direction. The camera shots and pans in this amazed me to no end. Östlund’s work here is going to end up in my personal top ten, if not top five, of the year when it comes to my favorite direction of 2022.
But unfortunately I have to say I was also left somewhat wanting and underwhelmed by this by the time the credits rolled.
From act one there’s some questionable pacing with certain scenes and story beats that could have been cut down to have a tighter film. This is especially felt by the third act when I found myself looking at my watch hoping it would wrap things up already. And by the time they do wrap, the movie ends with such an open-ended way that I felt frustrated by how sudden it feels and as if I were robbed of a major turn in the story.
Also as ballsy as the varied character roles are for the three separate acts, it did leave me having issues with connecting with certain key characters; and the character that suddenly goes from invisible to a major part in the final act has such a profound impact on the film’s final story beats that I was frustrated by how much I felt I still needed to learn about them pre the deserted Island.
At the first act I was debating between an eight or nine. By the second act it was between a seven or eight. By the time this finished, I was left mixed to very (and I mean very) slightly positive. On one hand I loved the direction, liked the performances, laughed at a few jokes, and appreciated the ballsy choices in the storytelling. But on the other I had trouble connecting with characters, the massive shift in the story being told from act to act left me feeling like I was missing pieces at times, and the movie really started to overstay its welcome by the final act. All capped off by a finale that will leave some, like me, frustrated and feeling basically ripped off of a more definitive ending.
I’ve been debating with myself on whether to go five or six on this one and ultimately after much debate as I wrote this review, I’m leaning towards a five. While it has hints of brilliance, Triangle Of Sadness had some major weak links for me that lead me to dislike the overlong film as it went on and ultimately had me wanting even with the long runtime. This is the definition of a movie I feel at odds with.