Triangle of Sadness
140 minutes(4 ½ out of 5)
Reviewed by: Alessia Belsito-Riera
Sprawled out on the bow of a luxury yacht cruising the Greek isles, a perfectly poised and bejeweled vieux riche hand cradles an Aperol while the smell of fresh pasta wafts up from below deck, the sea gently lapping the boat, someone in the distance quoting Homer or Virgil for good measure. It’s the epitome of unattainable class and refinement of an almost unreal world. Don’t be fooled by the turquoise water of the Aegean or the saccharine deference of the staff… for something lurks beneath the surface.
A quintessentially European film, Swedish writer and director Ruben Östlund’s newest film Triangle of Sadness has already received a Palme d’Or for best film at Cannes Film Festival and will likely win many more in the upcoming awards season. A wickedly clever satirical dark comedy, Triangle of Sadness dissects, dismembers, and spits back out the intricacies of social hierarchy.
Divided into three acts, the first carefully tiptoes around gender roles and the privilege (or curse) of being beautiful via celebrity couple Yaya (the beautiful, talented, and tragically late Charlbi Dean) and Carl (Harris Dickinson). In act two Carl and Yaya are gifted a trip on a luxury cruise in exchange for advertising on their social media channels. Surrounded by the uber-rich, the yacht seems a dream come true until rough seas both within and without see the rehearsed congeniality and phony gentility devolve into, well… excrement. In a fight for survival, the passengers battle (graphic) food poisoning and a hijacked intercom echoing an argument about capitalism and communism during nausea-inducing high seas. Blatant allegory at its finest.
By act three the survivors marooned on an island find themselves in a Lord of the Flies situation in which lineage and wealth are no longer valued and it is real-world survival skills that crown a new leader (Dolly De Leon). Beauty, however, becomes directly linked to power, reversing the gender roles of act one. There are so many small details that truly elevate this film to greatness.
Triangle of Sadness is a rotten and festering meal of social hierarchy served on a silver platter, and it’s absolutely delicious.