Triangle of Sadness

By Amy Kim

Ruben Ostlund’s Biting Social Satire is an Unrelenting Blast

This year’s Palme D’Or winner, Triangle of Sadness, is fairly divisive. Boasting a mere 62 on Metacritic and having a Rotten status on RottenTomatoes amongst top critics, I was initially a bit surprised that this film took home the top prize at Cannes over more beloved films like Close and Decision to Leave. However, after finally seeing this in theaters, I absolutely understand why this won. Triangle of Sadness is brilliant, hilarious, and a damn fun ride.

The premise of Triangle of Sadness is pretty straightforward. Essentially, there are a bunch of entitled rich people on a quarter billion dollar cruise, and hijinks ensue. There’s a lot more to it than that, obviously, and the escalation of this simple concept is a large part of what made this film so entertaining. The dialogue matches the absurdity onscreen perfectly, as any conversation that lasted more than 30 seconds completely captivated me. Ostlünd excellently weaves satirical elements into these exchanges while remaining true to his characters. Thus, nearly all of my favorite scenes consist of 2 characters with conflicting beliefs having a discussion. Ostlünd’s screenplay superbly takes an initially basic concept and creates one of the most creative and enchanting films I’ve seen in years. He also directs Triangle of Sadness exceptionally well, as it never lacks in visual flair and consistently has engaging sequences.

The cast of this movie helps bring this chaotic story to life, as many of them effortlessly portray some of the most self-centered, narcissistic pricks you’ll see onscreen this year. Harris Dickinson and Charlibi Dean are the standouts for most of the film, as they steal so many scenes with their simultaneous charisma and superficiality. Woody Harrelson and Zlatko Burić are also fantastic and had me dying of laughter whenever they interacted. But without a doubt, the MVP of this stacked ensemble has to be the incredible Dolly De Leon as Abigail. She is only in about a third of this film, but she completely devours every line. As the stealth protagonist of this film, it is already difficult to not root for Abigail. However, De Leon makes this character her own by instilling her with this innate strength that made her fascinating to watch. I desperately hope this masterful performance does not go forgotten come Oscar nominations morning, as she is my personal supporting actress winner of the year. But this ensemble as a whole is just so fantastic that Triangle of Sadness truly would not be nearly as fun as it is without them.

Despite its bloated nature, unsubtle social commentary, and choppy narrative, this film manages to feel quick, sharp, and enjoyable. The ending in particular hits surprisingly hard and will go down as one of my favorites of the year. Triangle of Sadness may not be the most nuanced satire I have ever seen, but it is one weighty ride I won’t soon forget.