Monday, January 25, 2010

TRIANGLE - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW


TRIANGLE - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW


Herb West over at MyMavra.com told me quite some time ago to watch TRIANGLE. The film played at the 2009 FRIGHTFEST in London and got a lot of respect. I, however, felt no inspiration to see it whatsoever. Who names a movie after a three-sided shape you learn to draw before kindergarten? So I sat on it. When I got my hands on the screener, I sat some more. I did a little legwork and found out that it is a British horror film set somewhere in the ocean. The last time I’d seen one of those it was the horrible DONKEY PUNCH. Needless to say, the film had accumulated a patina of dust by the time Herb gave me the forceful prod to “just get it over with,” and I have come away from it more than impressed.

The most interesting thing about TRIANGLE is that it is damn near impossible to write a spoiler-free review. The film is one big spider web, and each filament leads to a serious spoiler. I can reference things that happen in the film, but they are so close to the main spoilable idea that I have had to really collect myself before presenting this review. That I can barely even talk about this movie without spoiling it is really a tribute to writer/director Christopher Smith.

TRIANGLE doesn’t quite have the traditional third act unveiling of what is going on plot wise. It is more like Tarantino’s Frankenstein patchwork plot style and places massive hints before your face immediately. They aren’t enough to pull it together though; the major pieces that will snap the tumblers in place come later.

The body count in this film rises to ridiculous proportions. When the amount of murder that is underway is exposed, it is mind-boggling. However, this isn’t quite a horror film. Human beings are indeed dispatched in vicious, painful ways, but questions regarding the storyline overshadow the spattered blood. Intrigued?

TRIANGLE seems to false-start with Jess (Melissa George) consoling her autistic son Tommy (Josh McIvor) after he has had a bad dream. This film is no “then I woke up from my dream” trash though. TRIANGLE is a ride through the TWILIGHT ZONE that defies you to watch it once. As more characters are introduced and potential interpersonal issues are displayed, this film demands all of your attention.

The story of TRIANGLE really starts with a group of people getting onto a sailboat named the Triangle and owned by Greg (Michael Dorman). Downey (Henry Nixon) and his wife, Sally (Rachael Carpani) have brought a friend, Heather (Emma Lung), along with matchmaking hopes for Greg. Greg is much more interested in his other guest Jess (Melissa George) who seems to be distracted. And Heather actually takes more of an interest in the other single male on board named Victor (Liam Hemsworth). These five sail off into the sunlight.

Marketing for TRIANGLE is such that it comes as no surprise when the ship is wrecked by a strange-behaving storm. A freightliner named the Aeolus and its sketchy crew comes to the rescue, and this is where the editing, direction, and scripting all work on the audience, forcing it to the edge of its collective seat.

When Downey and Sally inexplicably know key information in advance, it feels like an editing error or a hole in the plot. But actually, it is some great editing close to MEMENTO status. TRIANGLE presents the characters’ perspectives, revealing them piece by piece. It hooks your eyeballs and pulls you along.

With nods to THE SHINING, THE PRESTIGE, and an antagonist sporting a sackcloth mask reminiscent of last year’s abysmal THE STRANGERS or even more subtly, LOS CRONOCRIMENES, the creep factor redlines and maintains itself until the very end of the film.

The solution presented at the end of the film hits the “so crazy it just might work” bullseye bluntly. TRIANGLE is an amusing step onto the storytelling landscape that Christopher Nolan has been training us to comprehend for years now. This film is something fresh for a genre that is awash with socially inept basement killers and sadistic sub-humans with journeyman butchering skills. I should have gotten to this thing a lot sooner.

*TRIANGLE will be on DVD Feb 2*

-Mediasaurus Rex

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