Triangle of Sadness – Film Review

The world of the rich and glamorous can be quite fascinating and often absurd. Renowned and award-winning Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund takes aim at their lifestyles in his latest film Triangle of Sadness, tackling the issues of equality and money with hilarious results.

In the film we meet male model Carl and his influencer model and partner Yaya, two young and beautiful people breaking into the modelling world. The pair are invited on a luxury ocean cruise on a boat full of very wealthy guests. From retired arms dealers, a fertilizer magnate, and so much more, all with a dedicated and hardworking crew to take care of their every need and any bizarre request that they may have, such as one guest who requests all crew members must go for a swim!

When the ship goes down in a freak storm, only a handful of crew and passengers remain, finding themselves stranded on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. Interestingly, the power dynamic takes a shift as the rich are left fumbling and struggling to survive, while the crew thrive in the difficult situation.

From the get-go it’s obvious to us the views Ruben has on equality, and I found a common theme throughout the film is money or other forms of currency. Ruben has crafted an amazingly tongue-in-cheek commentary with a dark humour that at times had me in absolute stitches. 

This film has an amazing cast which also helps it shine! Harris Dickinson as Carl and Charlbi Dean as Yaya are fantastic on screen together. They have a great chemistry and share some romantic scenes, along with some tense arguments which felt extremely authentic, particularly one scene towards the start of the film which left me on edge for a moment. Woody Harrelson appears as the Captain (when he eventually emerges from his suite on the ship) and provides so great comedic relief. 

But there were two real standouts for me. The first is Zlatko Buric as Dimitry, who stars as an incredibly rich Russian ‘shit seller’ that just exudes charisma and charm and is so fun to watch on screen, it’s hard to tell if he’s even acting it’s so natural. The second stand out is Vicki Berlin who stars as Paula, the highly strung chief steward of the ship, who works tirelessly to please all her guests, even after they are stranded on the beach. Vicki plays this straight role so well and I loved her performance.

Triangle of Sadness is impeccably shot, with bold, bright scenes throughout and not too over the top artsy. My favourite sequence was how they captured the mayhem as the ship was sinking, the majority taking place in during a black out and using creative light sources to capture the action, and hilarity of the events.

Triangle of Sadness is an extremely funny dark comedy with a social commentary of the rich, greed, and equality. I found it to be exactly that, there were moments where I was laughing so hard, I could hardly breath. Ruben Östlund and his team have created a piece of art and it’s much deeper than that after you peel back the layers. I almost missed this at Adelaide Film Festival, catching it at an encore screening, and I’m so glad I did as it was well worth the trip to the cinema.

Triangle of Sadness will have a general release in cinemas from December 26th.

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