TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
Director: Ruben Östlund
Talent: Charlbi Dean, Harris Dickinson, Dolly De Leon, Woody Harrelson, Zlatko Buric
Release Date: October 28
A triangle of sadness is the name given to the patch of skin between the eyebrows and is often a target of Botox and its attendant reactionary suppression. Ruben Östlund is a bratish director who has gleefully skewered conventional society with previous outings Force Majeure and The Square. Here he is back mocking influencer society, shady wealth and the pathetic mores of the cruise ship set. Triangle of Sadness is a film filled with much initial promise when we are thrust into the insecure lives of models Harris Dickinson (Carl) and Charlbi Dean (Yaya). There is a particular scene concerning the settlement of a dining bill which is played out with excruciating hilarity.
The centrepiece of the drama is a cruise aboard a luxury yacht which Yaya has been gifted. Here we come across a whole mix of characters ripe for satire – the benevolent seeming British retirees who made their fortunate off arms dealing in the form of hand grenades, the vulgar Russian oligarch (Buric) hewn to capitalism and the drunk captain (Harrelson) prone to spouting socialist ideologies. A storm during the Captain’s dinner spins Östlund into literal vom-com territory. However, it’s at this point that he looses the run and edit of himself, labouring moments such as the political philosophical debate, thus exposing the gossamer thin thread of this tale.
Finally, a bunch of these characters end up cast ashore on an island – Desert Island Dicks, if you will – and the plot lurches into more absurdity and ever-increasing pointlessness. It is slightly salvaged by a wonderful performance by De Leon who turns from lowly cabin crew to elevated island ruler with delicious abandon. However, Triangle of Sadness which won the Palme D’Or is ultimately cast away in its own pretensions that even the most ardent of Östlund fans may find hard to care to rescue.
Words: Michael McDermott