`Triangle of Sadness` Review: Enchantingly inviting satire on class and politics


Movie: Triangle of Sadness
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Buric, Iris Berben, Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsin, Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Ruben Ostlund
Rating: 3.5/5
Running time: 147 minutes

The writer/director of acclaimed films such as ‘Force Majeure’ and ‘The Square’, the socially conscious Swedish Ruben Ostlund, uses his sharp, caustic and obvious humor to dismantle class and opportunistic politics in this his first English-language outing and recent Palm d’Or winner. Triangle of Sadness basically refers to the Botox-ready space between fashion models’ eyebrows – and we get that from the opening act itself, where models audition for a high-end brand campaign.

For those looking to escape the grind of middle-class life, this movie has the potential to take you on a delightfully visually scenic cruise ride that focuses on the super-rich who inevitably hurtles towards disaster – and give you a vicariously hysterical escape. offers to a paradise devastated by the survival strategies of the washed up.

The premise is simple. What happens when a celebrity model-turned-influencer couple comes face-to-face with the wealthy elite and the service and cleaning staff aboard a cruise ship affordable only to the Uber rich?

At the very top is a class of people so wealthy they’ve lost all touch with reality – eating and drinking and shopping to their heart’s content. An elderly, portly British couple (Oliver Ford Davies and Amanda Walker) have made their fortune “protecting democracies around the world through precision engineering” – albeit by selling guns and ammunition. A fertilizer magnate, a Russian oligarch (Zlatko Buric), tells everyone that he made his money off shit. And there are many more of their kind. As the sun shines on the deck, the mostly white wait staff led by Paula (Vicki Berlin) celebrate potential tips and the colored non-white cleaning staff in the hull below wait their turn.
‘Triangle of Sadness’ is a story in three acts. The first, which could very well be a short film of its own, introduces us to Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), two up-and-coming models on a date who get into a fight towards the end of their fancy dinner based on based on gender assumptions. Ostlund goes back and forth in time to pinpoint transactional relationships and presumed gender roles. It’s a promising start to a movie that gives us an ambitious joyride before it overturns class hierarchy.
The second part takes place aboard a yacht that Yaya and Carl have been invited to advertise through their social media channels. That is a location where the class hierarchy is most obvious. Ostlund uses caustic humor to make his intent echo through the story. A woman (Mia Benson) insists that the ship, which is sparkling clean throughout, has sails that look dirty gray, but the yacht is motorized and has no sails. Carl, jealous of a shirtless worker who dares to catch Yaya’s appreciative glance, gets him fired.

A lonely app-creating genius (Henrik Dorsin) is clearly grateful when two beautiful young women welcome him to take a picture with them. Another passenger (Sunnyi Melles) insists that the entire crew go for a swim. A disabled woman (Iris Berben) recovering from a stroke can only repeat the words “In Den Wolken”, which means “In the clouds”.

It’s pretty clear from the way Ostlund constructs his story that the super-rich have little or no idea of ​​the ground reality and want everyone to be a slave to their whims and fantasies.

Also read: `Missing: Searching 2` review: A perfect thriller for the ‘IT’ generation

The dismantling of the hierarchy begins with the sit-down Captain’s dinner held on a stormy night. The drunken world-weary Captain (Woody Harrelson) prefers to eat his burger while his guests dine on impressive gastronomic options specially created to impress them. As the storm erupts outside (evidenced by the frequent turbulence in the dining room) the guests begin to unravel one by one. Ostlund uses the camera to give us a vicarious account of the nausea and intestinal distress experienced by the guests before the night turns into an explosion of bodily fluids.

While the second act more or less dismantles most societal structures, the third aims to flatten it for good and then reverse the roles. Surviving after being stranded on an island in the middle of somewhere calls for survival skills that only hard-working restroom manager Abigail (Dolly De Leon) can provide. So that makes her the boss, while others have to do her bidding or else pay the price.

This is an acerbically funny cruise ride that makes chaotic experiences look fun. Ostlund’s sharp dialogues citing Reganisms, Thatcherisms, Mark Twain and Vladimir Lenin coupled with Fredrik Wenzel’s brilliant cinematography and some beautiful natural performances make this sardonic satire of class and politics mesmerizingly inviting.

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