After going all in on gross-out humor in its second act, Triangle of Sadness never recovers in what is one of the weirdest films of 2022.
When it comes to Palme d’Or winners, they can be hit or miss. I went into Toronto heavily anticipating the film on the heels of its Cannes award. What I got is, well, I don’t even know how to describe it. It starts out as an outright relationship drama before becoming the comedy of errors on a yacht during its second act. The Ruben Östlund film falters in the third act because it’s hard to recover after forcing audiences to laugh up a storm. In this film’s case, the 143-minute run-time feels every minute of it. The film moves its setting over to the island in the third act. By this point, one begins to wonder how much longer because it drags by slowly. Of course, I was on my upteenth Diet Pepsi of the day at the time of my screening so I’m sure it was a factor.
There’s definitely something that filmmaker Ruben Östlund is trying to say about the elite in watching this film. He offers commentary on gender roles by way of Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean). There’s a debate over communism and Marxism. Meanwhile, several people on the boat end up getting seasick and puke. I mean, gross-out humor can work or it doesn’t. In this case, it is an epic fail because the film absolutely fails to hit the landing. It isn’t just that the rich people are suffering on the boat. Only a handful of them are able to make it to the island. Where is everyone else? Are they dead in the explosion or did the pirates kidnap them? I have questions as a result of watching this film but Östlund does not offer any answers.
But for all of the film’s faults, I cannot say enough good things about Charlbi Dean’s performance. Her death at the age of 32 is a tragedy and the film shows what we lose in her sudden passing.
Triangle of Sadness has its moments but it is one of the weirdest films at the end of the day. It’s the film that the cruise industry doesn’t want you to see!
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Ruben Östlund
CAST: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Zlatko Buric, Iris Berben, Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsin, Jean-Christophe Folly, Amanda Walker, Oliver Ford Davies, Carolina Gynning, Arvin Kananian, and Woody Harrelson
Triangle of Sadness holds its North American premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations program. Neon will release the film on October 7, 2022. Grade: 3/5
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