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Triangle of Sadness


Stars: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Thobias Thorwid, Vicki Berlin, Woody Harrelson, Dolly De Leon, Zlatko Buric, Oliver Ford Davis, Amanda Walker, Iris Berben

Director: Ruben Ostlund

Bizarrely, this empty and sometimes repellent fantasy-comedy-drama was awarded the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Juries on these occasions have been known to do some unexpected things, but this must rank as one of the oddest.

Part One involves male model Carl (Dickinson) and his girlfriend Yaya (the late lamented Dean) squabbling over a restaurant bill which she does not offer to pay despite a previous pledge to do so. Obviously, Yaya is embarrassed at having maxed out her credit card, but Carl becomes increasingly heated and carries the fight back to the hotel.

Part Two sees the couple with a freebie on a giant yacht whose drunken captain (Harrelson) seems only to appear at special occasions. Carl and Yaya find that rich fellow passengers include a Russian fertiliser magnate (Buric) and an arms manufacturer (Davis).

As the vessel hits heavy seas, the guests are served octopus, oysters, caviar and champagne (the captain wisely has burger and chips) meaning, even as the ship's toilets overflow in spectacularly disgusting fashion, that most are violently sick.

The yacht is then attacked by pirates, and Part Three sees eight of the passengers and crew apparently marooned on a desert island, where only Abi (De Leon), the Filipino toilet cleaner, proves capable of catching fish and lighting a fire, and proclaims herself captain (shades of The Admirable Crichton if nowhere near as entertaining). She also commandeers the only hunk around - Carl - as her bedmate.

In some ways, this harks back to the rich-baiting work of Luis Bunuel, if never within hailing distance in terms of script and execution. Overlong to the point of tedium, it's full of scenes that seem only marginally relevant and offer little to progress the plot. Doubtless, though, arthouse devotees and some critics will, as in The Emperor's New Clothes, attempt to see something that isn't there. Good luck with that.

David Quinlan

Sweden/Denmark/France/UK 2022. UK Distributor: Curzon. Colour (unspecified).
151 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 26 Oct 2022