‘Triangle of Sadness’ Review: “A Scathing and Hilarious Satire”
What better way to close out Fantastic Fest than with a screening of Director Ruben Östlund’s newest film, Triangle of Sadness? The answer is there is no better way, as the film is a tour-de-force that offers a scathing (albeit hardly subtle) criticism of the wealthy elite. Featuring a bevy of different characters from different backgrounds, the film’s scattered story manages to keep audiences engaged with its incredible comedic timing and great performances.
The film, split into three acts, tells the story of a group of people on a yacht, each representing a slice of the wealthy elite. There’s the king of selling shit, Dimitry (Zlatko Burić), social media influences Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), and many others. When things on the yacht start to go wrong, everyone onboard, even the service workers, begin to rethink their place in the social hierarchy. Triangle of Sadness is Ruben Östlund’s first English-language film, but it doesn’t show. The film doesn’t miss a beat in any of its comedic moments.
From absurd and seemingly meaningless conversations to the separation of the film into three acts, the movie has the energy of a Quentin Tarantino project. The manic tone makes the movie hilarious, seeing its disconnected stories all being used to tell the same message. The film’s first act is much slower-paced but nonetheless hilarious. It isn’t until the second act that the frenetic energy and great comedic backdrop of a yacht in the middle of a storm, that the movie picks up. Entertainment value only skyrockets during the second act of Triangle of Sadness.
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The group of wealthy people waxing poetic about their day jobs and confusion about each other’s professions makes for some hilarious scenes. However, when the captain of the ship, Thomas Smith (Woody Harrelson), finally shows his face after hiding in his cabin for the first half of the film, things really start to become entertaining. Harrelson’s banter with Burić feels like two actors just having fun with the material they’re given. Triangle of Sadness feels like a film with an energetic set brimming with chemistry that Ruben Östlund took full advantage of.
While not as clever as the cautionary tale of class inequality that was 2019’s Parasite, this film is still just as effective. Eventually, the yacht sinks, as they sometimes do, and the class divides present throughout the film are still there, albeit dramatically changed once the roles are reversed in the primitive free-for-all. The island sequence is filled with all the comedy you’d expect. However, the film drags after the highs of the second act, which took place on the yacht. The story is relatively predictable going into this section of the film, with the cliche story elevated by the performances and incredible comedic timing.
Overall, Triangle of Sadness is a by-the-numbers social commentary hidden through an elaborate structure. However, I don’t think the film is trying to advertise it as something more than what it is. Rather, Triangle of Sadness embraces the absurdity of our culture and runs with it. Unafraid and unabashedly in your face, Östlund’s film thrives on the lack of subtlety. While the runtime could be trimmed, the end result is a film that absolutely must be seen in theaters with the biggest crowd imaginable. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Triangle of Sadness Releases in Theaters on October 7, 2022
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