“A fashion model celebrity couple join an eventful cruise for the super-rich.“ Director: Ruben ÖstlundWriters: Ruben ÖstlundStaring: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Buric, Iris Berben, Vicki Berlin, […]
“A fashion model celebrity couple join an eventful cruise for the super-rich.“
Director: Ruben Östlund Writers: Ruben Östlund Staring: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Buric, Iris Berben, Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsin, Jean-Christophe Folly Woody Harrelson Rated: R Release Date: September 18, 2022 IMDB
Triangle Of Sadness is a prestige type of dark comedy. It is not traditional slapstick rich people having to do grimy things comedy. Director and writer Ruben Östlund allows the decadent characters in this movie to indulge in all their outlandish activities, Triangle Of Sadness is exactly what you’d expect, but it lives out its message with some truly horrific, grotesque and memorable images.
The satirical comedy begins with the young modeling couple of Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean). Carl is struggling at auditions while Yaya is strutting down the runway, and their uneven relationship tilts at a restaurant in an argument over the bill. We get a sense for their relationship. Their affection for one another is like sugar glass that is being held up only by fragile egos and fiery gaslighting.
If you are a movie nerd, then check out Vanity Fair’s interview with director Ruben Östlund talking about the opening dinner date scene between Carl and Yaya. The small insight’s these Oscar worthy director’s have is nuts. Every minute detail is accounted for.
The best way to cure a broken relationship? Going on a cruise on a fancy yacht!
Yaya treats Carl to a luxury cruise and these two youngsters begin to mingle with the ultra-ultra rich. There are old couples made rich after grenades, an old Russian eccentric who goes by Dimitry (Zlatko Buric), multiple older women who love to wear fancy clothes, and a captain (Woody Harrelson) who wants nothing to do with anything happening on the boat. All of these individuals make for a spicy stew…that gives everyone explosive and disgusting stomach problems.
The Triangle Of Sadness is broken distinctively into three acts, and the end of act two is the climax of the movie. It is a dinner party that is funnier than anything The Office has ever done. The captain’s dinner is meant to be a massive ordeal to show the guests on the ship the time of their lives, but that is really hard to do when the sea is stirring up a tempest. The ship is being turned side-to-side, and soon the whole things become…a shit show.
Events transpire that lead to various members of the ship needing to flee. Carl and Yaya are two of the survivors and they find themselves on the sandy shores of a deserted beach with some of their fellow passengers. All of these higher-status socialites are used to eating caviar and being served champagne. Oh how the the turn tables when all you have to eat are pretzels. The salty sticks may as well be fine dining.
Abigail (Dolly de Leon) makes herself known on the beach, and she makes herself known as the boss. Abigail on the yacht was a servant of the passengers, but now she is the overlord. She knows how to build a fire. She knows how to fish. She knows how to survive. Abigail uses her power for influence, and that directly affects Carl and Yaya. Abigail invites Carl to stay in the big safe sheltered boat. Hmmm, I wonder what for? Carl promises Yaya that nothing sexual is going to happen, but is anyone trustworthy in this environment?
The ending of The Triangle Of Sadness explores how the power dichotomies changes when the settings change. The story gets passed the mirage of being polite and forces personalities on both sides of the social aisle to come to some ugly recognitions. Is everyone an asshole? Are you born into it? Is it learned from nature? Is everyone a giant pretentious asshole deep inside just waiting to bloom?
Triangle Of Sadness begins with one of the most unique opening scenes…ever? How many times have you been in a room of shirtless male models being interviewed by a European fashion reporter while waiting to audition? The talk from the interviewer is not meant to be pompous, and it isn’t to the crowd he is speaking too, but damn if it doesn’t out you in the peasant shoes right away. We meet Carl while he is in the middle of this chiseled mosh pit, and he is the eye of the storm. You can see he is not entirely comfortable being the center of attention, but that is the life he has chosen to life with the body he has built up.
In terms of best opening scenes from movies released in 2022, I would put Triangle Of Sadness up there in the same tier as Nope (2022)and the opening nostalgia fever dream from Top Gun: Maverick (2022).
The dinner scene. We are not talking about Michael Scott’s bad TV. We are talking about rich misfits vomiting up Michelin Star quality food all while silverware is clattering in the background. The projectile vomiting is just the appetizer for when the yacht’s plumbing becomes unglued and shit water begins to flow through the hallways as passengers are struggling to stay on their feet.
The scene has some many small aspects to note. First of all, The Captain having a burger while the rest are having fancy ass meals is a hilarious touch for the character. The staff of the boat not being too bothered by the motion of the ocean while all their patrons are having an involuntary food spitting competition shows the dynamic between the two. The stubborn perseverance to keep up appearances is a frustrating yet laughable trait of the passengers, and the waiting staff continuously offering wine and champagne throughout is a bit mocking, in a playful way.
The best shot in the entire movie comes when the dinner portion of the chaos is over, but the infrastructure breakdown is beginning. When shit water begins leaking from the toilets and seeping into the hallway, there is a shot from the ground level of a wine bottle rolling aimlessly in the hallway, going with the current of the waves that are shaking the boat. Chasing the water bottle is the shit water, which is just perfectly metaphorical for how the shit catches up with all of us, no matter the circumstances. It is a hint to the soon-to-be forgotten affluent characters can’t escape the wave is coming for them.
Need to touch on one more screenplay sequence from Triangle Of Sadness, and it takes part in the final act on the island. Jarmo (Henrik Dorsin) is one of the survivors to make it onto the island, and in an act of heroism he kills a donkey with a rock for food. He thinks it takes one hit…but then it takes a few more insurance knocks for the animal to be officially deceased. The donkey is a working animal, often carrying a hefty load for travelers so they don’t have to strain themselves to hard.
Later in the third act, in fact the very end of the movie (so spoilers now if you want to leave), Abigail is holding a rock looking to kill Yaya. Abigail used to the be donkey on the ship, doing all the heavy lifting for the elite who just wanted to sit back without any burdens. Now that Abigail is in the leading role, and now that she has a taste of what it is like with “donkeys” working for her…well she might see them as expendable. That is why the look on Abigail’s face at the end is so twisted, because she is coming to realization that she could live in a paradise as the elite, but it would all be a lie. Yet the temptation is still there, and it is something she thought she would never lean towards, let alone have the opportunity to experience.
There are two standout performances in the movie; Charlbi Dean as Yaya and Dolly de Leon as Abigail. Two of the legs of the eventual love triangle, both of these women really suck the air out of the room when they are allowed to cook. Dean, right from the opening dinner scene with Carl, knows how to play the pretty girl who wants to be pampered part too a tee. It helps that she is absolutely stunning, but she has the slight air-headedness that is infuriating to listen to talk.
In a both of really sad news, Dean unexpectedly died shorter after the films release. The South African actress passed away due to a complication following a surgery she had 10 years prior following a car accident. She was only 32 years old.
Dolly de Leon takes the third act of the movie by the horns and does not let go. Doing her best impression from Captain Phillips (2013), she essentially tells everyone on the beach that she is the captain and her word goes. It is the way she talks to the fellow stranded like a coddling elementary school teacher, easing them into comfort before asking how a bag of pretzels went missing and what is going to be done about it. When she takes charge of the group with her little Jesus moment of giving the poor food, she elevates herself atop the totem pole. She takes the perks she feel she has earned by keeping everyone alive and the “I fucking deserve this” hue over everything is what carries much of the weight of the third act.
Triangle Of Sadness is nominated for three Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards. It is up for Best Picture, and Ruben Östlund is nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Directing. It doesn’t stand too much of a shot for Best Picture, and it is also running with the short stick in Director and Original Screenplay.
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