Released: 2nd February
Seen: 7th February
It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the rich are a bunch of bastards, very few who aren’t either rich themselves or a bunch of pathetic bootlickers could argue with that idea. In our capitalist society it turns out that most of the problems that we have as a people are basically due to the actions of a handful of obscenely wealthy people (emphasis on ‘obscene’). The only good thing about these people is that they make for excellent comedy fodder, after all who the hell is going to be offended by a joke at the expense of a billionaire… other than the aforementioned bootlickers.
Triangle of Sadness follows influencer/models Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) who have been invited on a trip on a superyacht in exchange for some promotion on their socials. This puts them on the same level as a bunch of incredibly wealthy people, from weapons salespeople to fertilizer tycoons, who all revel in the power that their wealth has given them. This power is exerted mostly over the staff of the boat who have specific orders to do absolutely anything that the passengers want, even if that thing could potentially put someone in danger. Naturally, because what else would happen when stupid wealthy people are in charge, things go horribly wrong and now the wealthy might need to rely on the poor people they’ve abused to help save them since they can’t seem to save themselves.
Some films are subtle about their core point, Triangle of Sadness is not such a film. Triangle of Sadness is always about 3 seconds away from having the phrase “Fuck The Uber rich” flash on screen in the gaudiest text imaginable just to make sure you caught its point. There is no attempt at being even a little bit subtle and it’s glorious. The uber rich in Triangle of Sadness are comically stupid and off in their own world where the workers are just part of their delusion. They’re the kind of people who demand that a ship that doesn’t have a sail somehow needs its sail cleaned, one of them literally made his millions by selling shit, you are permitted to laugh at these rich assholes… which is good because they are quite laughable.
This isn’t a friendly ribbing of the wealthy either, it’s a spiked baseball bat to the upper class’s crotch that’s being swung hard and repeatedly every chance they can get. If you’re not invited to laugh at the stupid whims of the wealthy, feel free to cackle when their stupid demands directly cause a situation that results in them projectile vomiting everywhere. If none of that grabs you, there’s always the latter half of Triangle of Sadness where the tables turns and the wealthy beg the poorest worker to keep them safe, which is funny because it shows how pathetic these rich people truly are.
All of this glorious bashing of the rich is done without even trying for nuance, maybe towards the end it tries to do a little bit about the nature of power and how someone who has power over other people might end up being corrupted by it but that’s the closest we get. Mostly it’s just a couple of hours of mockery of the wealthy that’s so intense you could almost feel bad about it for a minute… almost. Thankfully all the performers are so good at selling this stuff that they manage to dance right on that line.
Speaking of performers, it must be acknowledged that Charlbi Dean passed away shortly before Triangle of Sadness was released. Her performance as Yaya is one of the core things that keep this ship afloat, it’s obvious how much talent she had and how much talent was lost forever. Her performance is spellbinding and it alone would be worth the price of admission.
Triangle of Sadness isn’t just saying to eat the rich, it’s providing several recipes in order to do it right. There is no subtlety to be found here, it’s blunt about how much the rich suck and doesn’t care to go much beyond that. Even its vain attempts at discussion about Capitalism vs Socialism feels like it’s just there to poke more fun at the rich people, and that’s more than fine by me. Sometimes you just wanna watch a bunch of irritating rich assholes violently vomit themselves into oblivion before begging for help from someone they wouldn’t have spat on hours beforehand and this is the right film for that exact situation. It’s Parasite on a boat… Ok maybe not as good as Parasite, but a very similar idea.