“A Russian capitalist, and an American communist.”Dimitry
Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s oeuvre is darkly comedic social satire and — after an intriguing opening focused on a pair of social media influencer models — Triangle of Sadness levels its sights at the soft target of the ultra-rich on a cruise. Like a Jordan Peterson fever dream, heirarchies emerge everywhere, both between and within the guests and staff — this is contrasted by repeated lip-service to equality, such as one guest demanding the staff take a swim, believing this to be a generous gesture rather than hugely disruptive. The division bears similarities with The Menu, both featuring a lavish experience for small group of wealthy guests and willing to satirise both sides of the service divide. However, despite running over half an hour longer, Triangle of Sadness has far less to say, instead taking great pleasure in torturing its characters through a dinner ruined by seasickness that precipitates a descent into darkness. Its best-delivered message is the suggestion that people do not hold ideologies at all, merely manufacturing them based on circumstance to justify their own behaviour (the Captain directly quotes Noam Chomsky’s lack of interest in people’s self-perception as “they make up some construction that justifies what they do”), something we experience in full as the film reaches its conclusion.
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