Time: 108 Minutes
Daniel Radcliffe as Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic
Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna
Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento
Director: Eric Appel
A fashion model celebrity couple join an eventful cruise for the super-rich.
Triangle of Sadness was on my list of 2022 movies to catch up on. I had been hearing about it; I knew that was that it was a satire on the rich, involved a luxury yacht, and starred Woody Harrelson. Most notable however was the fact that it won the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival. The reactions to the movie also interested me, considering it was mostly positive but not everyone was on board with it. While Triangle of Sadness does have its issues and I don’t love it, I am glad that I saw it.
I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, as many other summaries and reviews disclose a bit too much about it. It goes in some wild directions and it is best experienced for yourself if you decide to see it. What I can say is that the movie is very much the opposite of what subtle is. It is a bombastic and absurdist satire about the rich and isn’t subtle about its themes at all. It covers elitism, the rich, class, social roles, and power structures. There isn’t any subtext and is very on the nose, but I’m not against that. It is also entertaining and enjoyable, and most of the dark comedy really hits. The middle act involving the yacht was solid, the cast get to bounce off each other and that was the funniest portion of the film for me. That being said, Triangle of Sadness is very flawed. As far as satires on the rich (or “eat the rich films”) go, it doesn’t say anything new. That isn’t inherently bad, but there is a self satisfied vibe to it at times that can get a little grating at points. Triangle of Sadness is a long movie at around 2 hours and 30 minutes long and you certainly felt the length, not helped by the uneven pacing. I do blame the last third of the movie for this. While the first act is decent and the second act is really good, the third act was a bit aimless. I was wondering where it was going, and not necessarily in a good way. It wasn’t as interesting or entertaining compared to what came before, and so it felt a bit of a slog. It certainly doesn’t help that this portion is around an hour long. Not only that, but I felt that there was a lot that wasn’t resolved or fully developed by the end despite the length of the film, and so it didn’t feel very satisfying.
The characters are for the most part blatantly unlikable, yet are all the more compelling because of that, and makes the dark comedy work a lot better as they are forced into certain situations. It helps that the performances from the cast are strong. Harris Dickinson and the late Charlbi Dean are the closest thing to the lead characters and they are great in this. I wish they had more of a focus in the movie; they are seemingly established as the protagonists in the first act, but over time its like they are forgotten about. Still, both are good in their roles. Everyone else plays their parts excellently, but there are a few standouts. Zlatko Buric is great, while Dolly de Leon particularly shines in the third act. Woody Harrelson also plays the marxist drunk captain of the yacht who is highly entertaining whenever he’s on screen. Honestly the movie would’ve benefited if he was in it more, certainly would’ve made the third act more enjoyable.
Ruben Östlund’s direction is solid, in fact I’d actually say that his direction is stronger than the writing. The cinematography is stunning and the camerawork is excellent. There are some very memorable sequences, one of which is a gross bodily fluid sequence which is perhaps a bit too long, but lingers in the mind nonetheless. Additionally, the use of music is good and fitting.
Triangle of Sadness is a lengthy and messy, but darkly comedic and entertaining satire, well directed and with some great performances. I do wish it was better and it certainly has its flaws, mainly with the writing and particularly the third act. But if you’re open to absurdist satirical comedy, I think it’s worth a watch.