Triangle of Sadness (5/10)
I really didn't like this film. That's not to say it's bad, but for me, it crossed the line into mean-spiritedness, whereas on the other side of the line, there's some hilarious sattire.
Since the film's divided into a number of parts, I'll structure the review as such. So on that note:
Carl (a model) and Yaya (an influencer) are dating. Carl's insecure about earning less (apparently male models earn 33% of what female models earn, so...yay, feminism?), while always being expected to pay. I've seen some people hold this up as some kind of examination of gender relations, but it really isn't. This isn't bad, though, as there's some excellent directing, such as the two arguing on opposite sides of an elevator, and Carl repeatedly holding it open to continue the argument.
The pair end up on a luxury cruise, likely either in the Mediterranean or off the cost of East Africa. They get it for free as Yaya's an influencer, so basically, free cruise in exchange for promotion. The rest of the passengers are the 1%, who are eccentric at best, and odious at worst (e.g. a British couple who made their fortune off selling hand grenades). This takes up the bulk of the film, and is easily the best part. It's basically a skewering (and not a subtle one) of society - there's the crew at the literal bottom of the ship who keep things running, the caterers who are semi-competent, and the 1% who indulge their every whim, with Carl and Yaya sort of, but not quite fitting in with "the elite." The ship's run by a drunk captain who still turns up at the Captain's Table event, where almost all the guests end up vomitting due to sea sickness and/or the food going off, because one of the guests insisted that the crew take a swim. Meanwhile, the toilets are overflowing with shit, so, yeah - there's the literal metaphor of shit coming to the surface of the ship/society.
The entire sequence is hilarious, as the captain (a closeted American socialist/communist) and a Russian oligarch debate the merits of socialism/capitalism, and by debate, I mean quoting figures like Reagan and Lenin, before retiring to the captain's quarters so that the Russian (both drunk) can claim that the ship is sinking, while the captain chastises the 1% and lament at his own hypocrisy.
Like I said, none of this is subtle, but the whole sequence is hilarious, so I'm not complaining. However, it's after this that things start going south.
The ship is attacked by pirates. There's a hilarious moment where a grenade is tossed onboard, killing the British couple after they recognize it as their own grenade, but apparently the grenade is powerful enough to sink the ship? Or, alternatively, the pirates board the ship (there's gunfire and screams) and sink it anyway? Neither scenario really makes sense, but a small group of survivours make it ashore. Call me whatever you want, but I found the implications really iffy here, since apparently, most of the people on the ship, of all professions/classes, are dead. One couple had a baby onboard, which cries at the Captain's Dinner, but is now likely dead. So the implication here is either that if your parents are shits, you deserve to die like them, or if that isn't the implication, then I'm left to conclude that this wasn't thought through, because no-one even remarks on the whole "hey, hundreds of people just died" thing, in what's an already iffy boarding action. I'm arguably obsessing over this plot point, but I couldn't get it out of my head.
Anyway, the survivors have no survival skills, but a cleaning lady from the ship does (fishing, fire-making, etc.), so with the island as a metaphor for society, the social order is turned around. The cleaning lady runs the show, gets all the privilages, and far from a communist paradise, the same hierarchy emerge. Ultimately, that's the theme of the work, that power corrupts, and that hierarchies automatically form, and that attempts to overthrow an unjust system will inevitably result in the replication of that system. However you feel about this theme is up to you - I certainly don't have a problem with it (I actually agree) - but I've seen this idea done before, and done better (e.g. Animal Farm), and while the island section does take some inspiration from Lord of the Flies IMO, again, LotF is the better work. Things come to a head in the ending which I won't spoil (for those who've seen the film, yes, that pun is intentional), but it's beside the point.
So, yeah. Film's okay. But my main problem is that it peaks in part 2, and part 3 is ultimately a drag. Its themes are on the nose, and unsubtle, and while that's not a bad thing per se, the film isn't saying anything that hasn't been said before, and been said better.