Triangle of Sadness review – a Vantablack comedy that’s far from pompous

December 29, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews


The fact of the matter is Triangle of Sadness is as far from being a pompous comedy as one can get. A black comedy that offers ego-driven monsters a look in the mirror, and those watching outside the social elite can giggle and cringe in delight.

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The fact of the matter is Triangle of Sadness is as far from being a pompous comedy as one can get. A black comedy that offers ego-driven monsters a look in the mirror, and those watching outside the social elite can giggle and cringe in delight.

We review of the film Triangle of Sadness, which does not contain spoilers.

Let me know if I have this right. Ruben Östlund’s film Triangle of Sadness, a blistering Vantablack satire on the lack of morality that comes with beauty and the wealthy elite, was given an eight-minute standing ovation after its premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the prestigious Palme d’Or award for Best Picture.

So, has anyone asked if they missed the film’s point entirely? Is the film making fun of and shining a light on their self-aggrandized importance? The mere fact that the audience applauds a harsh look in the mirror of ego-driven monsters brings a whole new meaning to the phrase if you look around the room and don’t see the sucker, you’re it.

Thankfully, the film is not insufferable for the viewer, who can giggle and cringe in delight over the social elite getting a dose of their own medicine.

At least the ones who are on the outside looking in like the rest of us.

The Triangle of Sadness review and plot summary

Triangle of Sadness follows a celebrity couple in the prime of their social media age. Carl (played by Harris Dickinson) and his “girlfriend” Yaya (the late Charlbi Dean, brilliant here) are a couple of models posing for their cell phones to upload constant contact of their beauty that a higher deity has seemingly blessed. They lead the “IG” life that has no actual use or value in the real world. The kind that will go away quickly. You know what I mean. When they get old and bloated, and unless Carl has a dome like Jason Statham, baldness will be a detractor. Each knows their work is on a short shelf life, so much they quibble over dinner checks like each piece of paper is their last will and testament.

However, they know they are a social media power couple, and it’s good for business. So they head off on a luxury cruise for the filthy rich. Along the way, they take as many selfies as possible. We are talking about everything from your classic poolside shots to the “Look at me eating lots of carbs and still so thin” ones right before Yaya tosses aside a large chunk of tangled spaghetti she was pretending to eat. The ship’s captain (played by Woody Harrelson) is going through an existential crisis, the type you don’t want in your large travel vehicles in the middle of nowhere.

The boat has a wide variety of the truly morally bankrupt. Paula (Vicki Berlin) is the staff manager who tries to keep the peace the best she can. There’s the opinionated Russian billionaire Dimitry (Zlatko Buric), who’s a bit of a brute. A “toilet manager,” Abigail (a hilarious Dolly De Leon), the film’s best character, has found new leadership capabilities. All this comes to a head when the ship passes through a terrible storm where everyone experiences a terrible bout of seas sickness. (Put it this way, everyone has their own Mr. Creosote moment).

The ship begins to sink, and a small portion of its tenants are now stuck on a deserted island. Remember that they are armed with only their cell phones and no charger.

Östlund’s film is smart and not afraid to make fun of itself or the ones they idolize while holding high esteem. There are a half dozen priceless scenes in the film. Like Harrelson’s and Buric’s characters only capable reason for having an intellectual discussion is the help of Google searches for quotes fitting their moral beliefs, which they know nothing about. You’ll cringe and cover your eyes as Carl tries to defend why he has to pay the dinner bill for his stunning girlfriend. He cannot stop putting his foot in his mouth.

And of all scenes that astutely sum up the dark commerce themes of Triangle of Sadness —  no one knows how to save a buck like the uber-wealthy — when a character’s dead spouse washes up on the beach, they don’t hesitate to pull off all their jewelry. Even before the shock settles in, suggesting these people are incapable of feelings that go beyond shallow. Östlund’s script is full of these moments. These are made simple with some brilliant performances.

Most notably, the late Charlbi Dean, whose presence and delivery are priceless. Buric has some of the film’s dark, gasp-inducing moments. However, the breakout star is Dolly De Leon. She plays one of the only characters who truly first with the morally bankrupted everyone else swims in. Now that she has a taste of it, can she go back?

Is The Triangle of Sadness good?

This is a comedy as far from pompous as you can get. I would argue that Triangle of Sadness is not too long. In fact, it had to go a step further. Yes, it’s far from perfect, but that’s because Östlund takes some real chances with his script here and allows his cast to do the same. While the ending is a bit of a headscratcher, it leaves the viewer open to the possibilities of coming up with their interpretation. That hurts the film slightly, but you’ll walk away satisfied you saw a hilarious comedy that never failed to play it safe.

If only they had taken that one dark step further.

What did you think of the film Triangle of Sadness? Comment below.

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