Triangle of Sadness has been on a grassroots campaign all season to snag it’s coveted spot in the Best Picture category at the Oscars. The off-kilter comedy may have nabbed the nomination but it’s still the darkest horse to take home top prize. Akin to White Lotus and The Menu, Triangle of Sadness explores the increasingly popular and tropey theme of “rich people doing dumb stuff and suffering for it.” Is it worth checking out to see rich people suffer?
The Conservative Critic asks: Is it entertaining? Does it have intellectual/artistic value? And is it liberal propaganda?
The Conservative Critic Meter Check: Triangle of Sadness
Overall rating: Def not Best Picture but fine
Triangle of Sadness (Triangle) is fine. It’s pretty pretentious for a film whose themes have been so robustly and popularly explored in the past five years. There is really nothing particularly new or interesting the film has to say and further there is nothing particularly great about how the film is composed. The accolades the film has received at independent festivals (re: Cannes) seem pretty shallow and perhaps ironically a bit too self-satisfied.
The performances are pretty good, and the screenplay is a bit grittier than films/stories of its kind giving it perhaps a level of edge that is worthy of celebration. The theme is definitely trying to be liberal but at the same time actually roasting liberals so it becomes a bit conservative in the end despite its best efforts.
What Triangle does have is the very rare achievement of an identical Rotten Tomatoes score between audiences and critics both of who agree the film was kinda good but not great.
Is it entertaining?
Rating: Very boring
Triangle’s number one crime is being extremely tedious almost to the point of being unwatchable. Everything about it goes on far too long. The film itself is 2 hours and 29 minutes which is just way way too long. It also features a scene (this might be a spoiler I guess?) where everyone is openly vomiting for five minutes. It features long, heavy-handed, subversive joke-laden conversations which are fun once but just genuinely so boring by the end of the whole thing.
Triangle is just simply not new or unique or funny enough to really consider entertainment of any kind. It’s definitely a chore to get through.
Does it have intellectual/artistic value?
Rating: Its there but it’s not breaking ground
The story has some grit. While the theme and concept is not at all different from The Menu or more closely White Lotus it departs by being a bit more gross (though arguably season one of White Lotus did this a bit as well). The film pivots from a sluggish exploration of the insipidly wealthy to a ‘lord of the flies’ style survival tale where the rich and the poor are put on an equal playing field. It is not to everyone’s taste. It is aesthetically specific. It’s sort of grungy and gross but also very slow. But it definitely has an intentional artistic point of view which was well performed by its cast and well captured by its Director, Ruben Ostlund.
However, there was not a new joke or new concept to be found in the entire film. There was nothing particularly intriguing or even very good about its composition. White Lotus did what Triangle was trying to do but in a much funnier and approachable way that actually hazarded the courage to be entertaining. There is an absolute galling irony of a film about the entitlement of the wealthy and the beautiful that reads as though it in itself feels entitled to celebration.
It was good, it was well made, it had a point of view and it was at minimum, very well performed. But it was nowhere close to a Best Picture caliber of film.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: I think it wants to be but it isn’t
The film definitely wanted to be an indictment on wealth in the way that liberals think they don’t like wealth. But actually, a lot of the mega wealthy in western culture (those featured in the film) are actually liberals. So the mocking of the obsession with a certain kind of beauty and power is actually a mockery of liberal elites. The rich cruise passengers drank a lot and were finicky about what they were having to drink. The beautiful influencers were young and entitled. If there were any sympathetic characters, they were the ship’s crew. The middle working class. The conservative voting based bread and butter.
Triangle was fine. It is absolutely not the Best Picture of the year and it shouldn’t have been nominated. Hollywood just likes to feel like they’re self-aware when they absolutely are not.