Triangle Of Sadness Looks At What Happens When Power Shifts Hands

Triangle of Sadness is a dark comedy, the hilarity is not rom-com style or even dramedy, but morbid, with an Animal Farm resemblance. A couple of influencers, not yet wealthy but collecting free stuff for a plug, wind up on a cruise that goes downhill. At almost two and a half hours long, Triangle of Sadness, directed by Ruben Östlund, delivers snickering humor about the disconnectivity and excess of the wealthy. 

The couple audiences follow Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), both models and influencers. Their dinner sets the tone of the film; discomfort, but you also feel relief because you are not in their situation. They argue over the bill. Their relationship is toxic, manipulative, and short-term, at least for Yaya. She plans to marry someone wealthy so she can have security and the finer things, and Carl wants to change her mind. Though by the time they reach the ship, the focus moves to encompass other characters.

Triangle of Sadness Goes From Our Manufactured World To The Natural World

Triangle of Sadness still of Yaya (Charlbi Dean) and Carl (Harris Dickinson) lying on beach chairs
Triangle of Sadness still of Yaya (Charlbi Dean) and Carl (Harris Dickinson). Courtesy of NEON

On the cruise, filled with obscenely wealthy white guests—there is a couple whose wealth comes from grenades—the catering and placating are downright childish. The staff cannot say no to any cruise guests. When they want something, the answer is always yes. It is hard to be mad at the wealthy alone and rage at their cluelessness about the world when their bubble prevents them from facing any degree of discomfort. That is ironic, considering what occurs later.  As viewers, watching and quipping about what we would do in this situation is entertainment in itself.

Need More Of The Captain

Triangle of Sadness still of first mate and The Captain holding champagne flutes and leaving to one side. Courtesy of NEON
Triangle of Sadness still. Courtesy of NEON

The acting is entertaining, though I wish they showed Woody Harrelson more. As the ship’s captain, he seems less interested in canoodling with the elite. So for most of the cruise, he hides in his room, drunk, until he has to come out for the captain’s dinner. His expression when dealing with the rich is about par with how many of us would look. Especially when one older woman complains the masts are dirty—never mind that the ship does not have masts—expecting him to solve an imaginary issue. 

From Wealth To WTF

Triangle of Sadness still of a wealthy older man laying on a beach chair and a younger woman standing nearby.
Triangle of Sadness still. Courtesy of NEON

The rich learn money does not protect you from everything. But it takes a long while to get there. The runtime is bloated, and though Triangle of Sadness is entertaining, I did wonder how much I had left once or twice. You are more than ready when the situation spirals out of control thanks to a storm. If you are not into gross that involves bodily functions, brace yourself. The amount of vomit and diarrhea is as excessive as guests’ finances. 

After the ship, the tables turn. The currency has changed, and survival skills determine the hierarchy. But, though different, human nature is the same. People wield their position to get what they want. Bleak but also funny to see people calling the shots relegated to a lackey. Still, no one wants to let go of their power, so positive change never comes from those in power. It only comes when the discomfort or danger is too great for them. 

Depends On Your Taste
Triangle of Sadness still of Carl mid rant in front of an elevator.
Triangle of Sadness still of Carl (Harris Dickinson). Courtesy of NEON

The film takes a long time on set up, so you can learn enough about most characters to dislike them. Enjoyable with grim humor about the selfish nature of people, Triangle of Sadness achieves a story on par with classic fables. If they trimmed some of the film time, that would help, but the film is still niche. If you are not into stories about human nature where nothing happens until the last leg of the movie, Triangle of Sadness is not for you. But if you enjoy stories that focus on nasty and uncomfortable humor and are about characters thrust into situations that upend power dynamics, give it your attention. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DarkSkyLady Reviews