Triangle of Sadness: One angle of funniness, two other angles of something-ness, but not sadness.

Triangle of Sadness: One angle of funniness, two other angles of something-ness, but not sadness.
Photo by Raul Petri / Unsplash

Triangle of Hapiness?

Brilliant comedy

NEON's most recent attempt to cling onto the bullet train that is heading into the 2023 awards season, Triangle of Sadness, directed by Swedish director, Ruben Ostlund, has hit the cinemas in Australia. The movie's cast includes Where the Crawdads Sing star Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean Kriek, Dolly De Leon and Woody Harrelson.

Having not seen the director's previous works, I was surprised by Ostlund's blunt and ambiguous approach to theatrical comedy.

Triangle of Sadness opened at Dendy Southport with an almost full room of audience. The movie had everyone unable to stop laughing for a good half an hour.

What can go wrong when dozens of filthy-rich people get stuck on a 50-million dollar yacht? Literally everything. And that is essentially the movie's selling point, a brilliantly written comedy with great performances by an extremely talented cast, especially Dolly De Leon.

The movie starts with the introduction of Carl (played by Harris Dickinson) as a fashion model who was told by the casting agency to lose the Triangle of Sadness on his face (the first and last time we'll hear the movie's title, remember that this happens in the first three minutes of a two and a half hour movie).

Ostlund then wastes no time in launching the rocket of comedic plots, ridden by heavy references to societal inequalities between genders and challenges to the current norms. The political elements feel fresh and fitted at first and appropriate. Like all modern movies, the director fails to realise that more political references do not make the movie a better movie. It got a point where the political messages were so unclear and yet so abundantly used that they achieved no purpose and felt non-existent.

Triangle of Sadness feels like a creative writing assessment by a high school student who expects to get an A+ by copying an entire catalogue of fancy vocabularies from Thesaurus while drifting off the original topic which was only selected because Ostlund felt that it was cool, only to realise that the deadly hilarious story that he created was nowhere near what he was trying to achieve and then desperately tried to redirect the focus back onto the initial topic but fails, miserably.

All in all, I consider the movie itself as a disappointment that enforces the general theatre audiences who stumble onto this movie to develop a false interpretation of what independent films are in essence.

It is time to talk about the individual performances.

Harris Dickinson's performance here fell short comparing to his performance in Where the Crawdads Sing in 2022. Maybe it was like what many said, Dickinson was deprived of opportunities to demonstrate his ability with his near disappearance from the second act. So overall his character was easily forgettable, even intellectually impaired at times? I don't quite understand Ostlund's choice to picture his character as a simpleton who seemingly has no backbones when it comes to real world issues, maybe to emphasise his character's confusion of the society? If that is the case, then Ostlund is incredibly successful at that because I was personally very confused by Dickinson's character during viewing.

Dolly De Leon single-handedly prevented the movie from becoming a complete disaster of a try-hard indie movie that wanted to become the next Parasite.

It is almost like Dolly De Leon was one of the producers that desperately tried to salvage the movie's meaning that was slowly fading into the distant darkness.

Her performance as the toilet manager of the million-dollar Yacht and then the monarch of the survivors' kingdom is natural, sincere and cruel. She was determined and not ready to lose her newly found purpose as the empowered ruler of the people who once rode high above her on the social hierarchy. Her character defines the potential of people who reside in the lower social classes and also the danger of power exploitation at the hands of the suddenly gifted.

And also just how fucking hilarious was Zlatko Buric's performance? The man is a legend.

"Toilet manager on the ship, captain here."

The final rating for Triangle of Sadness is: