Triangle of Sadness

An arms dealer, a communist and an influencer walk onto a yacht, is the joke setup of Ruben Östlund‘s Palme d’Or-winning Triangle of Sadness.

The film itself is a lot longer – 2.5 hours in fact, split into three distinct acts: a toxic influencer couple (Harris Dickinson and the late Charlbi Dean), an explosive luxury cruise, and finally a Lost-style stranding. Yet for all the wealth on screen (in every sense), Triangle of Sadness is found wanting beneath the surface.

Östlund takes that triangle from Force Majeure (domestic argument, affluence satire, elemental displacement) and stretches it to breaking point, forgetting that Force Majeure worked by constantly teetering on the brink. In crossing that line the comedy loses all semblance of subtlety and reality, spelling out its satire in lurid detail where the 2014 film explored the awful truth of the unsaid.

The movie out-carnages Carnage in its escalation from catalyst argument to projectile puking, unleashing a torrent of virtuoso vomiting that proves Östlund is serious about his craft. It is just a shame that this master of the uncomfortable is content to make the same joke over and over – so even though the triangle is inverted in act three, it never transcends its two dimensions.

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