After skewering the contemporary art world in The Square (NZIFF 2017), the Swedish director focuses his excoriating gaze on fashion, influencers and the ultra-rich in his English-language debut. Outrageously entertaining and unapologetically in-your-face, Triangle of Sadness divided critics and audiences at its Cannes world premiere but left no one indifferent.
This frontal assault on the superficiality of current times, capitalism, class, masculine insecurity, coupledom, social media and a whole lot else besides, roundly compensates for its lack of subtlety by its uproarious panache and shrewd underlying commentary, taking excruciating comedy to new heights.
Yaya and Carl, surface-beautiful and deeply shallow, are models – when they can get a gig. In the absence of catwalk strutting, Yaya constantly maintains her Instagram profile while Carl frets about the imbalance in their relationship – she earns more than he does, but she never picks up the swank restaurant tab. Are they a couple or just performing so as to boost the number of ‘likes’ from their social media followers? Bickering doesn’t sort anything out, but fortunately Yaya is offered a free trip on a super yacht. They may be the poorest among its grotesquely rich denizens, but unexpected circumstances mean Carl’s ‘hotness’ factor will become more valuable than any other wares that can be traded.