Comedy Drama

The Shape of Things to Come: A TIFF Review of ‘Triangle of Sadness’

September 15, 2022Ben MK

With darkly comedic masterpieces like Force Majeure and The Square under his belt, writer and director Ruben Östlund has built a small but impressive filmography sharply satirizing the most idiosyncratic elements of the society around us. Now, with the ominously titled Triangle of Sadness, Östlund is back to do what he does best. This time, he's taking aim at the obscenely wealthy, in this tale of what happens to a group of luxury cruise passengers when their vacation goes terribly wrong.

A scathing critique of classism and the overindulgent lifestyles of the ridiculously rich and famous, the story follows Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (the late Charlbi Dean), a couple of fashion models who also happen to be a couple as well. Beneath his chiseled exterior, however, Carl is suffering from feelings of insecurity about his own worth as a man and resentment towards Yaya's more successful career. So when the opportunity to take her on an all-expenses-paid luxury cruise arises, Carl seizes it, if only to win her over for good. But when a series of unfortunate events — from turbulent ocean waves, to mass food poisoning, to pirates — causes the ship to sink, Carl, Yaya and a small group of survivors must figure out how to make do with little more than the clothes on their backs. Washing up on the shore of a nearly island, they suddenly find themselves having to hunt and forage for their own food and figure out how to start a bonfire. Will they manage to ever make it back to civilization?

Savagely funny and brutally honest, the answer is a piercing and oftentimes comic look at the extreme lengths some people will go to for power and money. However, to say much more about would be to risk spoiling the twisted surprises Östlund has gleefully prepared for viewers along the way. Suffice to say, Triangle of Sadness is an incisive, hilarious and fitting companion to the Swedish filmmaker's last two movies. And if you consider yourself a connoisseur of dark comedies, it will undoubtedly put a smile on your face.

Triangle of Sadness screens under the Special Presentations programme at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 23 min.

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