TRIANGLE OF SADNESS is an hilarious dark political satire directed by Ruben Ostlund of FORCE MAJEURE and THE SQUARE fame. You know its going to be good not because it won the Palme D'Or at Cannes this year, but because it's so rare for comedies to get any awards that they have to punch so far above their weight to get recognition.
The film falls into the category of post Global Financial Crisis films where - I guess the normal people? - mock the super-rich for being greedy, selfish arseholes. It's a category that includes the phenomenally successful White Lotus and this year's surprise film THE MEAL. As a reviewer for the blog formerly known as Movie Reviews for Greedy Capitalist Bastards, I am of course one of the super-rich and thus the target of this humour. As such the film resonates differently but just as powerfully!
As the film opens we meet male model Karl at a casting, being assessed like stock at a cattle fair. There's a laugh-out-loud hilarious moment when we are told that the more expensive the clothes, the more miserable the models look. It's so clever, and true, and funnily portrayed you know you're in good hands in this film. We then move to meeting Karl's model girlfriend Yaya, over a rather difficult meal where he comes to the realisation that she's in a relationship of convenience. They're both beautiful and it's great for instagram followers. Hey, it scores them a free holiday on a luxury yacht.
This is the meat of the film - the cast of rich rogues being ministered to by a vast staff of pretty white servers and brown people behind the scenes. There's so much truth to that, and to the entitled behaviour - for sure exaggerated here for comic effect, but not by much, in my experience. The pivotal event occurs about two thirds of the way through when have the chance to see society upended in a Lord of the Flies type social experiment that ends in a fairly predictable but still darkly hilarious finale.
Kudos to everyone in this ensemble cast for creating such a brilliantly macabre film. But most of all to Ruben Ostlund for his script and direction. The message is depressing and cynical but resonates: that all relationships trade sex for money; that equality is a childish fiction; and that anyone would oppress the weak if they had the chance of power.
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS is rated R and has a running time of 150 minutes. It played Cannes where Ruben Ostlund won the Palme D'Or. It is currently playing the BFI London Film Festival and will be released in the UK on October 28th. It was released in North America last week.