In the past, Östlund has shown a deft facility in sending up meaty topics, applying granular attention to male ego in “Force Majeure” and art-world pretensions with “The Square.” Here, however, he stoops to the broadness ascribed to his work by its harshest critics, now more parody of himself than parodist.
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The only thing Östlund’s po-faced characters can’t afford is to recognize the absurdity inherent to their lives, and so the movie keeps our response muted to a low chuckle, as if anything louder might reach the people on screen and cause the whole charade to fall apart.
As facile as Triangle of Sadness becomes, Östlund at least provides full-circle follow-through when beauty and sex once again become bartering assets and a late gag mocks the global obsession with branded luxury goods. But this is a glib movie, self-indulgent in its extended running time and far too amused with its easy digs at wealth and privilege.
There are flashes of the incisive, caustic insight of his Force Majeure and Palme d’Or-winning art-world satire The Square. But this rather laborious take on the excesses of capitalism, depicted as a luxury yacht headed inexorably for farcical disaster, lacks the pitiless ironic cool that made those two films so memorable.
The director of The Square gives a new shape a whirl with hilarious, scathing and sometimes jaw-dropping results.
Strident, derivative and dismayingly deficient in genuine laughs, Ruben Östlund’s new movie is a heavy-handed Euro-satire, without the subtlety and insight of his breakthrough movie Force Majeure, or the power of his comparable Palme-winning spectacle about the art world, The Square.
For the majority of the film, Östlund’s combination of sledgehammer and scalpel work a treat. They’re fast becoming the hallmarks of a satirist who’s unlikely to run short of subject matter any time soon.
Tringle of Sadness is an utterly hilarious satire told in three acts, each more ludicrous than the last.
Triangle of Sadness needn’t be a fair film, nor one that readily delivers the simple righteousness of have-nots triumphing over have-lots. A more carefully shaped argument would have been appreciated, though. And one that didn’t dissolve so quickly into a juvenile snicker.
The points of Östlund’s Triangle are far from subtle. Vanity is toxic; fortunes corrupt; everyone loves to see an Instagrammer getting their comeuppance. But across its well-earned two-and-a-half-hour running time, epic schadenfreude keeps edging into genuine sympathy, and we feel just sorry enough for these awful people for the next humiliation to sting just as hard.