Movies

This Year's Grossest Movie No One Is Talking About

Image credit: Legion-Media

Ruben Östlund's Triangle of Sadness won the Palme d'Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, so right out of the gates, you can expect this film to be bleak and/or depressive, and/or gross. And such expectations won't be far off the mark.

Being a satirical black comedy, Triangle of Sadness has to make miseries and misfortunes of its cast funny, rather than soul-crushing, but it compensates for that by extraordinary levels of grossness. While "wallowing in shit" is usually a figurative accusation, in case of Triangle of Sadness it is a literal description of one of the scenes (and then only if you also add "wallowing in vomit"). It is not a film for queasy people.

Neither it is a film for people whose faith in humanity is easily shaken by works of fiction. Critics who reviewed it had mostly focused on the "eat the rich" aspect of the film's satire, and this aspect is certainly prominent.

Most of the comedic absurdities in the film stem from portrayal of the rich and powerful as so insulated from the world by the protective barrier of their wealth, so used to getting everything they want, that they can't quite comprehend the objective reality not catering to their every whim as readily, as their hired servants do. But to tell the truth, hardly any character in the film, rich or poor, is portrayed as a remotely sympathetic human being.

Those who believe that the director only attacks moneyed upper-classes of our globalized world probably had their attention wander by the final third of the film and its conclusion, which viciously eviscerate the idea of the poor somehow having more admirable personal qualities than the rich, rather than merely skills more useful in certain circumstances.

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Another fairly common feature of films which win prizes at film festivals nowadays is being unnoticed by general public. In case of Triangle of Sadness "unnoticed" also seems to be literally true. So far all the signs point out to a severe box office failure – within a week of being released in the United States, Triangle of Sadness has yet to recoup even 1/10th of its budget.

Maybe tastes of an average movie-goer are a bit too refined for vomit-and-diarrhea humor, after all. Or maybe the film is really not as funny as its creators believed it to be – after all, Ruben Östlund may not be as rich as some of his characters, but he still belongs to the same class, which insulation from the world he mocks.

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