Release Date – 28th October 2022, Cert – 15, Run-time – 2 hours 27 minutes, Director – Ruben Östlund
Model and influencer couple Carl and Yaya (Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean) find themselves on an increasingly disastrous and uneasy cruise whilst trying to mend their relationship and career.
There’s a sequence towards the end of the second part of Triangle Of Sadness’ clearly divided three act structure which may just be one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. The 15-20 minute sequence is hinted at and built up to but when it finally hits it unfurls in a truly glorious, gross-out, manner. While perhaps being enough on its own individual jokes that tie in to the moment, alongside some which step slightly aside from it, are placed throughout to simply create a brilliantly layered set of events, whilst also stopping the constant from tiring out. Each layer complimenting each other and leading to perhaps one of the funniest, and best, sequences of the year.
It does lead to a slight shame that after such heights the film can’t quite comedically top this. There are still a number of laughs present within writer-director Ruben Östlund’s knack for drawn out gags which border on the lines of effective cringe comedy, but with a slight shift in tone and style none go for anything as grand and in-your-face as the cap on the second act. Instead he continues to play with his clearly targeted characters in usual satirical fashion, throwing them out of their depths in a scenario which is wonderfully delivered by his strong ensemble cast.
For the most part we follow Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean as model and influencer couple Carl and Yaya. They’re in a rocky place in terms of their relationship which appears to be led largely by its representation on social media. Add in the fact that Carl is worrying about his own career after a disappointing audition it seems that the only thing that can solve all these problems is a cruise on a luxury superyacht. It’s in this setting where Östlund appears to have the most fun with creating characters. While the drunken captain (Woody Harrelson) is rarely present there’s plenty of input from the other passengers; including a wealthy, scene-stealing Russian fertiliser salesman (Zlatko Buric) – described as “not crazy Russians, it’s very rich Russians” – and elderly British weapons manufacturer owners (Amanda Walker, Oliver Ford Davies).
The run-time may be close to two-and-a-half hours yet thanks to its frequently laugh-out-loud funny humour there’s plenty held within that time to keep things moving, allowing the film to go by quickly. It may slow down in the third act, where up until now little-seen yacht crew member Abigail (Dolly De Leon) begins to command events, after the aforementioned heights of the second parts finale, but there’s still plenty of amusement to be found within the slight tonal shift and new angle which is presented. We see a much more dishevelled and out of place group of people, displayed after the humour of an “a few hours later” title card.
It’s here that the camera appears to most acknowledge itself, or perhaps rather what it’s looking at. The heightened characters and situations allow for it to make an unspoken point of almost looking through a glass into another world to that of the audience, while not creating a distance between them and the film as a whole. During this final segment things may begin to border on the long side, but overall the film fills its run-time rather well and definitely avoids feeling 147 minutes.
Östlund sets his tone with ease in the opening stages which see a loud documentary being filmed while a group of shirtless male models line up waiting to audition. His satire is finely tuned for each character yet broad enough to bring in a variety of laughs within each scenario, although certainly favouring an extended point which leans into cringe comedy. Pointed and yet not afraid to jump head first into gross-out territory there’s plenty of enjoyment to be found here thanks to his scripting and the heightened performances of the ensemble cast. It may start to stretch in the final stages but for the most part Triangle Of Sadness is a wonderfully pitched piece of frequently laugh out loud funny satire.
Favouring effective drawn-out gags yet not afraid to dive into a 15 minute highlight sequence of largely gross-out humour there are plenty of laughs to be found within Triangle Of Sadness’ just pushed run-time and its clearly targeted characters, all well performed by the ensemble cast.