Triangle Of Sadness

Reviewed by Ian Payne

"The Admirable Creighton crossed with Lord of the Flies" was the comment on one of the voting slips for Ruben Östlund's film 'Triangle of Sadness', accurately summarising the third Act of this remarkable satire.

Triangle is about power and influence and how the balance shifts in different circumstances. Act One is about the strained relationship between Yaya – a glamourous 'influencer' on social media and her boyfriend Carl, a male model with a fragile ego, perhaps knowing his talent only extends as far as his good looks. Indeed, is Yaya's interest in Carl due to the fact he is a pretty accessory to her Instagram account, much like the designer clothes and handbags she is given to promote?

One such promotional gift is a luxury cruise, actually filmed on one of the Onassis yachts. Here the issues of power and influence go up several notches. The passengers are the super-rich, Russian oligarchs, arms manufactures and the like, all eminently dislikeable. In the boat's hierarchy, they are at the top. Beneath them are the crew of immaculately groomed, young stewards who are told that the one word they cannot use towards a guest is 'No'. At the bottom of the heap, out of sight and in shabby blue fatigues are the cooks, the cleaners and the engineers.

Östlund has fun in showing up the absurdities of the passengers however the picture of privilege and luxury changes as the seas become rough and an outbreak of food poisoning consumes the guests. Their gastric turmoils as the boat pitches and rolls make for moments of queasy hilarity.

After the shipwreck, Act Three takes us to the island. Here amongst the survivors, wealth has no currency and it is knowledge that is power. One of those in blue fatigues made it to shore and it is now she, who can light a fire and catch fish who takes command – displaying a level of ruthlessness straight from the oligarch's playbook.

A delightfully ambiguous ending brings this prize-winning film to a fine conclusion.