Grief Triangle review: Franchise mode by Wringer

The more closely I look at the topic of beauty, the uglier it seems. Meanwhile, wealth is obscene from almost every angle. Irresponsible Swedish satirist Robin Ostlund gets up there, probing the pores of the elite realms of supermodels and the rich in the “sadness triangle,” which derives its name from the fashion world’s term for the deep creases that appear between the eyebrows with stress or age. Nothing can be fixed with a little Botox.

Östlund’s hilarious, hilarious follow-up to “The Square” doesn’t have any of the same characters as the 2017 Palme d’Or winner, but it pretty much follows the same tactic of creating extremely uncomfortable situations for people who are comfortable with their privilege. It is a Bonnelian strategy, similar to the “pavement bourgeoisie charm”, for which Ostlund became one of the most important practitioners of artistic cinema. His theory in action here, amid arguments about capitalism and Karl Marx, is that beauty itself is a form of currency that, despite being an incredibly volatile and volatile currency that, like cryptocurrencies, can collapse at any time. To test this hypothesis, Ostlund sent a super-elite cruise ship to the bottom of the sea, observing how survivors deal with stranded on a desert island. There, a Rolex watch is worth nothing, but it helps to be hot.

The appropriately shallow “triangle” protagonists are social media influencers Karl Weya (basically, professional selfie-takers sharing photos of themselves pretending to enjoy whatever booty they offer), played by Harris Dickinson and Sharpie Dean. The couple can’t seem to decide if they’re really a couple or it’s okay to act as one to gain a few extra followers online. Anyway, they quarrel like soon-to-be lovers, which seems as good a definition of their situation as any.

Yaya was invited for a free ride on an expensive luxury yacht (Christina or the nearly 100-meter-long, once Aristotle Onassis prize). She and Karl are by far the poorest of the passengers: her ticket is declined at a restaurant before boarding the plane, while he earns a fraction of what she does, as is typical in the fashion industry. Other guests are drowning in dough – and will soon drown because of this, because the sea voyage is an obvious target for a pirate attack.

Ostlund opens the film on the grounds, behind the scenes of a fashion shoot, with the documentary crew introducing some key concepts, such as the way luxury brands view consumers. In its superficially obvious and undeniably absurd focus on looks rather than substance, it makes this sector an easy target. However, Ostlund seems to be working on an early-21st-century critique of the sector – which is good, but a little behind the times. What is the position of influencers in this, one wonders? Just when the public thinks they’ve figured out the tricks of the fashion world, the industry adapts.

It would be even more daring to confront the way fashion makers and taste makers wrestle with the public who is beginning to tell them what that they I think it’s pretty – basically, all the traits bullied in schoolyards: redheads and freckles, Kardashian curves and people of color, pretty boys and flat-chested girls. In a world of Instagram filters and affordable beauty procedures, “perfection” comes easy. It turns out it’s hard to get personal.

It’s interesting that Ostlund is cast as Dean, who isn’t trying to hide the scar on her stomach, and Dickinson, who brings a kind of fragile frailty to the Abercrombie boy type (having played a duo in “Beach Rats”). Throughout the opening chapter, Ostlund notes that these two are trying to negotiate their unorthodox relationship, squabbling over the smallest things. On the flight, Karl gets jealous when a crew member takes off his shirt. Yaya appears to have been run by a rug of hair covering the man’s chest and back—unlike the Ken doll aesthetic expected of Karl and his fellow supermodels. He complains to the ship’s soup chief, Paula (Vicky Berlin), and the man is sent packing.

The first half of the “Sad Triangle” consists mostly of such interactions: scenes in which the characters show their strength in relation to each other. Wealthy Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitriy (Zlatko Porech) offers to buy the boat from under the captain (Woody Harrelson, whose silly character spends much of the movie drunk in his cabin), while his wife Vera (Sani Melis) insists, “We’re all the same,” we ask The crew give up their responsibilities and join them for swimming. When we encounter such wealth, the word “no” is not in their vocabulary.

Then comes the captain’s dinner, which plays like a Monty Python drawing, where guests try to eat oysters while a storm rocks the boat. A woman in a wheelchair shouts the same German phrase, as Peter Sellers is unable to contain the Nazi salute in “Dr. Strange Love.” A beautiful old couple reveals that their millions have been sold off by selling grenades (setting up the most perverted words in the movie: “Winston, isn’t that one of us?”). A memorial wife nearly drowned when her toilet flushed its contents in her face. The whole thing is so exaggerated that the subtle tone of schadenfreude is now becoming a source of concern. These toasts can be unbearable at times, but no one deserves it. Or whatever comes next. But testing limits is what Ostlund does best.

The final third of the film focuses on a subset of the passengers and crew, who take a shower on an island and quickly realize that none of them have the skills to survive even a few days in the wild. Then a lifeboat arrives with one of the crew, Abigail (Dolly de Leon). On the ship, she was merely a restroom manager, but Abigail knows how to cook and fish, making her the leader of their new temporary community. Up until this point, the characters have behaved in exaggerated and recognizable ways, but now, Ostlund is pushing them into virtual territory, effectively illustrating his own beliefs about human nature.

These outcasts have nothing useful to offer, except for the handsome Karl, who sets up a system of barter – food and shelter in exchange for sexual favors – which the audience cannot represent if the gender roles are reversed. An hour earlier, Karl was browsing through $25,000 engagement rings to offer Yaya. Now, he’s replacing the back massage with pretzel sticks. It’s funny, but cruel. By the time the movie reaches its dizzying conclusion, anyone who has formed any kind of connection to this couple will find the phrase “sad triangle” to be more than an adequate description of the new dynamic of these characters.

The thing about Ostlund is that it makes you laugh, but it also makes you think. There is extreme subtlety in the way he constructs, blocks, and executes scenes—a kind of agonizing uneasiness, amplified by awkward silences or an unwelcome fly between characters struggling to communicate. First the “square”, then the “triangle”. No matter what field it deals with, we are bound to see the world differently.

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