As I write this review, I’m on a train to London to take part in the final weekend of this year’s London Film Festival. This year I’m only able to see two films from the line-up: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winning Triangle of Sadness.
The latter stood out the most for me as the film I wanted to review since it won the top prize at Cannes, and because of the unfortunate and recent passing of Charlbi Dean, the film’s leading actress.
Onto the film itself now. Triangle of Sadness centres on Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), a male model and an Instagram influencer respectively, who are given free tickets for a luxury cruise full of the super-rich.
From the very first second, you get the idea of the kind of humour that you will be getting for the next 150 minutes. An incredibly enthusiastic interview of a group of auditioning male models, talking about how models look angrier when advertising more expensive brands, gives the impression they are looking down on their customers. This really set my expectations for the themes of the film.
The film has a big ensemble cast and does an amazing job of establishing and building upon it to get laughs. There’s a hilarious exchange between Harrelson’s Marxist captain of the cruise ship and a Russian oligarch, a seemingly innocent old couple who turn out to have invented the hand grenade, and later in the film, the roles are reversed in a deliciously ironic way.
The sequence during and immediately following the captain’s dinner has got to be one of the most hectic pieces of film I have ever seen, just the perfect escalation of absurdity that climaxes with probably my favourite joke of the whole film.
Triangle of Sadness also excels from a technical standpoint. What stood out the most to me was the conservative editing. The lack of shot-reverse shot editing during conversations really allows you to get immersed in the scenes when the camera isn’t jumping around. The colours of every shot are so rich, and lighting is utilised in an effective way, especially in the third act. The soundtrack as well was great; the main theme is really catchy and some of the licensed songs managed to get themselves stuck in my head all over again.
There were definitely some points where the film felt like it was meandering, but just as I was about to start begging it to move forward, it would come up with another brilliantly funny scene to keep me interested.
Triangle of Sadness absolutely blew me away, its humour is perfectly absurd so as to criticise the rich and the vain in a scathing yet funny way. I really can’t see Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio topping this; it might even be my outright favourite film of 2022 so far. I’m still undecided on whether I like this or The Northman more.
Triangle of Sadness is released in UK cinemas on October 28.