Saturday, November 26, 2022

Triangle of Sadness (2022)

This one is a slightly overrated Euro comedy that proudly displays its Cannes laurels before the opening titles. It’s a thinker. It differentiates itself from the Adam Sandler school of comedy that we’re so accustomed to in America. It’s smarter than Barbarian and the latest Top Gun movie, but slightly less entertaining than either. In any case, I consider it one of the best films of 2022 so far.

The plot beats are external to the characters and have nothing to do with the characters, making them look like dumb apes that are passive in their environment. There is no active protagonist. The focus is not on any hero or antihero, just a bunch of people who get the shit kicked out of them by a world that is apathetic to their existence. It’s the furthest possible thing from American storytelling, and that’s probably why the Frenchies love it.

The plot breaks the film up into a sequence of three settings: everyday life, the yacht, and the island.

First we we see a lineup of male models, with a short character monologue about how models market products. The protagonist is one of the models, a soyboy who falls perfectly into working-class discount brands. He has a girlfriend or wife who is also a model. Their relationship is about as shallow as you’d expect, and after a bit of talking we’re into the second act.

The characters end up on a cruise with a bunch of older rich people. The captain is an alcoholic self-proclaimed Marxist. We see a lot of moments with the various characters. Pirates attack the yacht and it sinks.

Only half of the passengers survive. They wash up on an island and form a society that’s supposed to be a microcosm of modern human culture blah blah blah.

The movie doesn’t have zombies or jets, so it’s missing a lot of the whizbang of Hollywood. Without an active protagonist, the side characters take center stage, which does work well for what the movie is.

If you like foreign films that are technically competent but don’t move very fast, and you don’t mind a little realistic vomit, this isn’t a bad way to kill two hours. It left a lasting impression on me, and I guess not every movie has to be a thrill ride. I would have shot it differently, I would have cut it to 90 minutes, and I would have added some horror elements, but my version wouldn’t be a Palme d’Or.