‘Triangle of Sadness’ turns the super rich into fodder for satire




Rated R. At Landmark Kendall Square.

Rating: A-

In Palme d’or Bunuelian winner Ruben Ostlund’s ‘Triangle of Sadness’ (his previous win was 2017’s release ‘The Square’), two young and beautiful models, including an influencer, find themselves caught up with the super-rich aboard a giant yacht that sinks in a terrible storm. Is it a metaphor for modern life? You bet it is.

When we first meet Carl (Harris Dickinson, “The King’s Man”) and Yaya (the late Charlbi Dean), they are fighting over the check at a fancy restaurant. We are told that she makes more money than him as a model and internet influencer. In the opening scenes, we see what he has to endure as a young male model. Carl and Yaya are soon enjoying a gift aboard a big boat with a group of super rich men and women who have more money than they can keep and who expect each of their whims come true. Nutella jars are delivered to the ship by helicopter. Paula (Vicki Berlin), the woman in charge of “services” on board the boat, believes that the fulfillment of each passenger’s wish is her priority and the priority of each of her employees.

Another priority is also to get the captain of the ship (Woody Harrelson), who is in trouble, out of his room and perform his duties. Meanwhile, Dimitri (Zlatko Buric), a Russian oligarch who poses as the king of excrement because he has a fertilizer monopoly in Eastern Europe. Dimitry adores his wife Vera (Sunnyi Melles), who is used to getting what she wants and that includes switching places with a beautiful young crew member named Alicia (Alicia Eriksson). An elderly British couple (Amanda Walker and Oliver Ford Davies) made their fortunes with hand grenades and landmines. Yes, we are indeed on board the allegorical nave of Plato’s madmen. A passenger who has had a stroke can only repeat the same phrase over and over. During a long passage, a storm causes many passengers to vomit and defecate uncontrollably. The Captain and Dimitry argue over politics as their fellow travelers fuss in their state rooms, where the toilets begin to overflow with heavy metals in a fertilizer-stained vision of the end of the world. Did I mention pirates?

“Triangle of Sadness”, not to be confused with the tetrahedron of despair, is divided into three parts. The last of them is called “The Island”, and it could be described as the more political version of Tom Hanks’ 2000 classic “Cast Away”. Carl, Yaya, Paula, Dimitry and a few others go to a island, where things very quickly become “Lord of the Flies”. This includes brutally killing a donkey with a stone. Abigail (a delightful Dolly De Leon), who has kept the toilets clean on the ship, rules the island because she knows how to fish and make a fire and lives on the shore in a modestly plush lifeboat, where she does of Carl his toy. Yes, some of “Triangle of Sadness” can be wide. But overall the film is a funny and incisive satire of our ridiculous state of affairs. The false motto of “Triangle of Sadness” is “Everyone is equal”. Was that ever less true?

(“Triangle of Sadness” contains profanity and sexual content)


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