Triangle Of Sadness

****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Triangle Of Sadness
"A roller-coaster of the effects of absolute power corrupting absolutely." | Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The deft sleight of hand of director Ruben Östlund presides with a flourish over his first full English language outing, much anticipated in the wake of The Square which won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or five years ago.

He’s a director who makes you think but also keeps an audience thoroughly entertained. He deals with the corrupting power of capitalism but also changing gender roles and perceptions and the crisis of modern masculinity.

The canvas is vast but Östlund tries to keep it under control by dividing it into three parts. In the first we’re introduced to Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) who are both models and influencers. In a pre-credits sequence Carl is seen strutting his stuff among the buffed contenders at a male casting session overseen by a bitchy circus master. The action proceeds to a fight between the Carl and Yaya over who should the bill at an expensive restaurant which is resolved by mutual agreement on the basis that their careers benefit from them being a “celebrity” couple.

Cut to the second part which unfurls aboard a luxury yacht full of obnoxiously rich people and a crew ready to pander to their every whim with prospect of a shared healthy tip at the end of the voyage. The young couple have wangled the trip free of charge through their power on social media.

And with a drunk Woody Harrelson in his laconic element as the captain on board what could possibly go wrong. The vessel sails into a thunderstorm which gives Östlund the perfect excuse to let rip during an elaborate captain’s dinner when the filthy rich passengers in all their finery spew up the delicacies from various orifices as the storm rages. Meanwhile Harrison and Zlatko Buric, a Russian businessman, argue over each other’s ideologies on the PA system for all to hear.

In the last segment the yacht has sunk with only a few survivors, including Carl and Yaya. They’re stranded on a remote island and in order to serve they have to create a new “society”. The Filipino cleaner Abigail (Dolly De Leon) suddenly finds herself much in demand for her skills in catching food and making a fire. She takes advantage of the situation to turn the tables, call in favours including a liaison with the hapless Carl. The diminutive actress walks off with this part of the film.

Östlund delivers some blisteringly funny lines and situations and obviously adores the collective endeavour of taking his audiences along for the ride on what is a roller-coaster of the effects of absolute power corrupting absolutely.

Reviewed on: 22 May 2022
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A yacht for the super-rich sinks, leaving its passengers marooned on an island.


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