Triangle review

Contributing Writer; Melbourne, Australia (@Kwenton)
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Triangle review

"Downstairs right now is a copy of myself. Me!"

Triangle is a tightly wound, tense thriller that keeps you guessing and manages to make the bizarre scenario in which it unfolds plausible through solid acting and clever pacing. It is a lynchian nightmare on the high sea as a murderer stalks Jess (Melissa George) and her friends on a seemingly abandoned cruise liner. The premise sounds like typical horror movie fare, but there are enough twists and turns to quickly realise it is anything but. Jess is portrayed in a fractured manner, and as the title of the film suggests there are three sides to her. She transitions from a startled and confused protagonist to being conflicted, and ultimately an antagonist.


The film itself is set in Miami, Florida, and was actually shot in Australia, Queensland. All the actors are Australian and occasionally their forced accents and distinctively Aussie look distract and almost let the film down but also in a sense adds to the strangeness of the whole package.

We first encounter Jess at home, distraughtly hugging her autistic son, who looks like he has seen a ghost (more on that later), not much information is conveyed as snippets of her home life and frustration move to her at the docks with her friends, ready for a yacht cruise. While on board she has a grisly dream of her death and in a flash the calm weather is gone and a massive storm capsizes them. They are immediately rescued by an enormous ocean cruise liner, which they quickly discover after boarding it is from the 1930's, the Aeolus (a Greek word meaning test from the gods) is the name of the vessel. There are many great shots as they walk around confused on the ship such as the appearance of endless corridors and the depiction of a great storm in the theatre room on the ship.  These all convey some great mysterious nature of the vessel.

Jess feels like something is watching them the whole time and confusion reigns when after they decide to split up the movie spirals into cult status as Jess comes to grips with what is happening, as everyone begins to die around her. There is a very twisted time travel philosophy and notions of an afterlife here that Jess gets entangled in, and desperately tries to understand as she loses her sanity and obtains a twisted sense of purpose. Each scene progressively and disturbingly explains each murder and the ultimate fate in store for Jess, and it is hard to believe how well crafted and complex the story gets in the ultimate déjà vu.

It all comes full circle (or triangle in this case) when the movie ends where it began with her at home with her son, and all the fractured depictions of herself and her son's fear become fully realised.

Triangle is an extremely original and disturbing film that explores the psyche in an unimaginable scenario and the alterations it must endure when faced with the impossible.

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Charles WebbMay 27, 2010 10:28 AM

I thought this was a terribly interesting film that kind of lost its way a bit in the final moments when it became clear what direction the story was going in.

Nice write up.

Arch StantonMay 27, 2010 12:48 PM

This was a very well done film, a number of the reveals are terrific and though it was promoted as a horror it's much more like the sustained nightmares that the Twilight Zone did so well. Rather than a slasher on a boat story it's basically Twilight Zone meets a dark twisted Ground Hog Day.

Kwenton BelletteMay 27, 2010 6:57 PM

Groundhog day is definitely a great example of where this film goes, however Jess soon realises there is no one best way out of this nightmare, although she doesn't do any overly crazy methods like kill herself to prove this point. Maybe they should do a 'gritty reboot' of Groundhog Day and recast Bill Murray as he can now play dead pan depressive perfectly :)

Kwenton BelletteMay 27, 2010 6:59 PM

Thanks Charles! I'm not sure about lost its way, I'm not entirely sure it had a 'way' to begin with! I did appreciate it when the final scenes explained the beginning of the film however.

JoelMay 28, 2010 1:16 PM

I'm not so sure what to think of Triangle. I really wanted to like it and any sort of sci-fi / paradox / time-travel / alternate reality type of films, I'm in. But even since the start of the film, it just kept on reminding me over and over of a poor mans Time Crimes. I thought it started off well but towards the end, I just didn't enjoy it as much. As you wrote though, I did quite like final few scenes which explained the beginning =)

SamMay 28, 2010 11:24 PM

Have you guys not seen Timecrimes?

Kwenton BelletteMay 29, 2010 10:35 AM

I have not! Will rectify this tomorrow, and see how it compares, a poor mans time crime... I'm definitely intrigued now!

EndeneuMay 29, 2010 10:55 AM

I really enjoyed Triangle, but I have to say I am sure glad I went into it blind rather than reading a review like this one that reveals more than I'd have liked. The best way to see a movie like this is to have no idea what you're getting into and watch it unfold.

kujoo1June 4, 2010 4:34 PM

I've seen "Timecrimes", and "Triangle" is much better IMHO. At least from a pure entertainment factor, but I thought overall it was a superior film. This film really messes with your head.

One of the better thrillers to come out recently, and this film is destined for cult status.

Christopher Smith is one talented dude. His films have gotten progressively better. Looking forward to
"Black Death".

joshtownsendJune 4, 2010 9:57 PM

Exact opposite.

I saw and loved TIMECRIMES a while back and it totally ruined TRIANGLE for me. They are WAY too similar and Timecrimes is better.

BlakberiJune 5, 2010 9:12 AM

I saw Triangle first but it was alikened to Timecrimes (right here on this site by a subscriber) and I already knew the plot of Timecrimes so it was a mini spoiler for me.

However, I loved Triangle and liked Timecrimes. Triangle left some really nice touches dangling for the viewer to piece together as well as some elements just out of reach of true comprehension so that it stands up to repeated viewings and a few lively discussions. I felt Timecrimes had everything pretty much sewn up neatly and although I enjoyed it I felt Triangle to be the superior film in terms of sheer nightmare and with its metaphysical elements.

I would recommend this film to everyone