A celebrity model couple are invited on a luxury cruise for the uber-rich, helmed by an unhinged, alcoholic captain. What first appears Instagrammable ends catastrophically, leaving the survivors stranded on a desert island in a struggle of hierarchy.
Not exactly the most subtle post-Parasite film (!), and despite it superficially being 'anti-rich', it has severely restricted political horizons. The infamous extended vomiting sequence has the advantage of being so incongruous (and unfunny) that it's easy to let your brain forget that it really happened. Still, something interesting in the awkward performances that made it worth watching. Indeed, Barry Hertz wrote in the The Globe and Mail that:
It is [the first] part of the script, centring on a confrontation between Carl and Yaya in a hotel elevator that stretches itself past stop-and-start awkwardness into something resembling high-squirm comedy, that contains Triangle's sharpest material. As the young, impossibly attractive couple bicker about the cost of a high-end dinner – including all the transactional elements underpinning the concepts of contemporary courtship […].
Östlund’s broad-brush depiction of a literal dictatorship of the proletariat [in the final chapter] ultimately serves to reinforce the very status quo that the rest of the film so viciously satirizes. Yes, war profiteers and tax-evading billionaires may be bad, Triangle of Sadness seems to say, but look how dangerous the other guys are. If the well-heeled crowd at Cannes ever felt implicated by the film’s sardonic ridicule of the upper class, any and all guilt has been assuaged by the time the credits roll.
— Keith Watson (Slant)
A movie of targeted demagogy that pitches its facile political stances to the preconceptions of the art-house audience; far from deepening those ideas or challenging those assumptions, it flatters the like-minded viewership while swaggering with the filmmaker’s presumption of freethinking, subversive audacity. Of course, Triangle of Sadness […] won the Palme d’Or, the highest prize, at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. […] A motley batch of passengers and crew members end up stranded on a deserted island, forced into raw survivalism in a state just above that of nature, where money is useless and power relationships are drastically altered in ways that are utterly unsurprising and commonplace, even if they do lead to a clever trick ending.
— Richard Brody (The New Yorker)