Back when he was campaigning for President in 2008, Barack Obama once said, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” People thought he was referring to Sarah Palin who had made a lipstick comment earlier that year. Was he calling her a pig? Who knows? Who cares? Palin begat Michelle Bachmann, which begat Majorie Taylor Greene, which begat Lauren Boebert. She shouldn’t have been John McCain’s running mate and everyone knows it and probably cost him some votes.
No, what President Obama was trying to say was the PG-rated version of “You can’t polish a turd.” You can dress up something to make it look bigger, better and more glamourous but it’s not anything special. Triangle of Sadness is two hours and two minutes of lipstick on a bad movie that has a 15-minute sequence during the middle where a bunch of people are vomiting and having diarrhea. After watching this moive and the painfully dull three-hour Babylon, many directors are trying their hardest to put lipstick on schlock to make critics and Oscar voters feel there’s something more there.
Are filmmakers like Ruben Ostlund and Damian Chazelle trolling the film industry? You hear stories about how people mistake a pile of trash at an art gallery for an exhibit or how someone left an empty water bottle on a display stand and then find a protective case around it. The vomit scene on the carnival ride on Problem Child 2 was under two minutes and that movie has just a 7 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Triangle of Sadness has 71 percent. So, at least 30 percent of critics felt the movie was horrible.
I can’t even begin to describe the plot. People say it’s supposed to be a satirical dark comedy about the wealthy and elite, but why the hell would anyone want to watch something about rich people being parodied. I mean, it’s not original. Filmmakers have been making fun of rich people since day one and all you have to do is a quick Google search and you’ll see something in real life. I feel bad for all the people who watch it thinking Woody Harrelson has a huge role, since he is featured on the poster art, but Harrelson is only in a small fraction of the movie.
And he’s the best part of the movie. The only good scene is when Harrelson plays a captain of a yacht cruise ship who has a pissing contest (not literally) with an elderly passenger Dimitry (Zlatko Buric) as they drink booze and list off famous quotes about socialism, capitalism and communism by Margaret Thatcher and Josef Stalin. I would’ve much rather watched Harrelson and Buric get drunk and do this for two hours.
Instead, the plot mainly revolves around Carl (Harris Dickinson who’s acting makes watching paint dry very thrilling), a model, and his girlfriend and fellow model Yaya (Charlbi Dean) who’s also an influencer, bicker and argue over wealth and money. They get invited to the yacht as part of a social media promotion or something with a bunch of other wealthy people who get violently sick from food poisoning and seasickness. They puke their guts out and then they feel the toilet bowls up until they overflow.
Then, pirates attack the ship and the next thing, some of them are stranded on a nearby island where Abigail (Dolly de Leon) who had been the cleaning woman on the ship manages to have some power as she’s the only one who has survival skills. But Ostlund does nothing with this concept because as soon as it’s revealed the working class Asian person is in control, the deus ex machina reveals they’re actually on a luxury island, a cliched trope that has been used numerous times before.
And for some reason that makes no sense, the wealthy survivors resort to killing a donkey to eat. This is supposed to be played for laughs as the donkey brays as people continue to bash it over the head with a big rock. But the donkey is in great pain as we’re supposed to laugh at the inexperience of people having to kill an animal? Who in the blue fuck would find this funny?
Considering there’s not one person in the movie that is likeable, I can’t fathom why anyone would conclude this is a great movie. Could it be they’re exploiting the death of Dean who died shortly after it was shown at Cannes but before it was released? If so, that’s even more horrible. The Palme d’Or at Cannes never does guarentee a great movie. Take Wild at Heart (David Lynch’s worst movie) and Barton Fink (one of the Coen Brother’s worse).
The movie was a surprise nominee at the Oscars getting three nominations including Best Picture, but it didn’t win at all. And considering that Ostlund was nominated for Best Director and Sarah Polley wasn’t, it makes you wonder if the movie didn’t become of a victim of the same thing it’s claims to be parodying?
What do you think? Please comment.