Thursday, August 9, 2012


By s. Thursday, August 9, 2012 , , , , , , , ,
Over and over again
(this review contains spoilers)

Triangle is not a great movie, but it definitely had the potential to be one. The script is actually quite good, it forces the viewer to pay close attention to the events, it surprises and it is engaging. The movie has many flaws, but the effort the creators made needs to be appreciated, it was quite some time since I've seen such deliciously confusing and original and refreshing thriller.

The main heroine is Jess, strange waitress who has an autistic child. She goes on a boat trip with the guy who's hitting on her and his friends. She is very weird and has good reason for it – but at the beginning the audience is kept in the dark. Suddenly, when they are on open sea strange and sudden storm causes the boat to trip over and the passengers of  Triangle are left alone, with no help coming. But then strange ship appears and they get on board.

Since that moment movie turns into thriller with many clues, turns and twists. There are quite clever red herrings planted all over the film – one of the people on the boat, Heather, presumably died, but then when strange things start happening on the ship, the audience and the characters suspect it is her doing them. Then I suspected the ship is hunted and ghosts are trying to kill the rescued ones. Then I thought maybe it's like The Strangers and some demented sailors are playing sick games. I was wrong. And I love being wrong when I'm watching the movie.
We all know the story of Sisyphus. The man who cheated Death and was terribly punished – he was made to roll a huge rock up a hill, but before reaching the top of the hill the rock would roll back down, forcing him to begin again, for eternity in Tartarus.

The remark about this is made pretty early in Triangle, as well as the name of the ghostly sheep - Aeolus - the ruler of winds in Greek mythology. After some time, we realize that Jess is caught in the loop, but I made the connection to Sisyphus very late, only by the end of the movie. Jess is forced to relive the situation on the boat and the ship, over and over again, presumably trying to save her son, who is killed in car accident, caused by her. We only see 3 loops and for me that's the biggest flaw and for others, I'm sure, it maybe the biggest asset of the story. There is simply too much left for interpretation – there are clues, but not enough to make sense of entire film.

We see bodies of seagulls, bodies of Sally, which suggest that events happened many times. But why did Jess get to the car in the first place? Why does she gets on Aeolus? Why does she go to the marine? There are answers, but they are either flawed or completely made up by the viewer. It seems Jess forgets she is dead and in the loop whenever she sleeps. Then why does she go to sleep in the first place? As for boarding both Triangle and Aeolus she tries to rescue her son. But still had she not slept, had she finally stayed home with him instead of driving to the marina...The only solution I see lies in the character of the taxi driver, who seems to be some kind of Ferryman – she doesn't go back to the cab and cheats him, just like Sisyphus cheated Death in the myth. Therefore she is punished. Is the Ferryman there each time? Is he only at the scene of the accident or can he magically appear everywhere?
As I said there are too many things open for interpretation, which is frustrating because you cannot have the full picture if somebody gives you too few of the puzzles. I love confusing movies, ones that leave you thinking and reading about them, ones that force you to filter all this filth on imdb in order to find the solution, ones which have so much in them, each time you watch them you find something new. And with Mulholland Dr. for example there is no ultimate explanation, but the director gave us enough to make sense of the whole thing and come up with full picture – maybe not the right one, but complete. This is not the case with Triangle.

I read people interpret this movie in many ways – I agree with the loop theory. Other ones include the idea that Jess is crazy and kills everyone and then has delusions. I'm sure that's a reasonable guess given that movie pays tribute to The Shining many times – messages on the mirror, the ballroom and number 237.
There are many people who I'm sure don't want to spend days making sense out of films. If that is the case, watching Triangle may be a little boring. The movie has many suspenseful scenes and works as a thriller, but I think the most attractive side of the story is trying to understand it. However the atmosphere is quite spooky and the movie is very well done – the storm scene is great and the cinematography is fantastic and gives rather unique feel to the film.

The only problem, apart from too many things left unsaid in the film, was with foolishness of certain parts. I spent a lot of time on the boats when I was younger – I know how to tie knots, I know how to steer a boat, I know basic safety measures before sailing on the open sea. So when I see the movie where a group of people swims out, pretty damn far, on the sailboat which doesn't even have a outboard motor just in case wind dies (as it did) I'm stunned. Even when I was 9 years old I always dreaded the possibility of this happening and I always refused to go on the boat without such device. It is something most audience won't pay attention to, I'm sure, but it already planted the idea of „what a silly movie” in my head. Sure, it was a supernatural loop, but after all the boat was real.
Another time I was shocked by the stupidity was then the heroine is running away from someone and that someone hits her with a huge shotgun which falls next to her, yet she doesn't grab it. She grabs an axe which let's face it looks better when a beautiful woman is holding it but it's not as effective as shotgun. I was confused. And the other people in the movie except for Jess are rather stereotypical horror characters, being dumb, getting killed and uttering awful dialogue.

I love it when the main heroine is fragile looking, petrified blonde carrying around something deadly. It works – look at Naomi Watts in The Ring, Nicole Kidman in The Others, Kate Hudson in Skeleton Key and here Melissa George. I like her, although she is not much of an actress. But she has pretty good experience with that particular genre - Amityville Horror, 30 days of Night and now this. I saw few of her films and this is definitely her best performance. She is credible and she is perfectly cast. Her character is very interesting, conflicted, she gets to portray many different emotions throughout the film. After seeing her in something as bad as Grey's Anatomy (with all due respect to fans of the show, but playing indie music during operations and having every character sleep with other characters can be pushed to such extremes even I cannot take it) I was quite impressed with her work here.

The movie could have been great, but it is still a good thriller. If you find the action boring you can focus on the plot, if trying to figure out the plot will bore you, you can always get a little scared. Very interesting idea for the movie, but wasted one.

Triangle (2009, 99 min)
Plot: The story revolves around the passengers of a yachting trip in the Atlantic Ocean who, when struck by mysterious weather conditions, jump to another ship only to experience greater havoc on the open seas.
Director: Christopher Smith
Writer: Christopher Smith
Original Music: Christian Henson
Cinematography: Robert Humphreys
Stars: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor and Jack Taylor


  1. Oh I read a review of this over a year ago and decided it might be too spooky for me. I heard Melissa George was good though.

    Btw, Lady Sati I hope you don't mind doing another Blog Award post, I tagged you for the 7x7 Award, it's much easier to do though, mostly a promotion post for you awesome blog :)

    1. It's chilling but it's not very spooky, it's more of a thriller than a horror film.

      I got 7x7 quite recently, but I will do it again soon!


    I was obsessed with this movie for WEEKS (back when it was still available on Instant Watch... grrrr). Seriously, I watched it COUNTLESS times. I DIAGRAMMED it. I loved the fact that they only showed 1 loop (of 2); it gave you the false sense that she was changing what was happening, and that she might somehow break the pattern.

    Each of the 2 loops has a triangle: new Jess being attacked, Jess who's aware there's a loop and is trying to stop it, and Jess killing people to get off. We follow a loop in which Jess first sees her friends die and throws a *masked* assailant overboard. Then, as she tries to change things, she accidentally kills one, who the "second" new Jess will then see (both loops have to happen at the SAME TIME). The second new Jess throws an UNMASKED version of the assailant overboard. So we get little peeks of what's happening in each loop! The other Jess (who knew right away she would be the assailant, which our Jess didn't know right away because of the mask) writes the message in the bedroom in blood, and other things we didn't actually see happening.

    I think it's clear that this entire time, Jess is dead. She probably (but not necessarily) died for real in the storm, which is why she's stuck with the other people who died (the missing Heather probably lived). As we later see, she was a terrible mother, so she's forced to fight her way back to redeem herself, for eternity.

    Also I think the going to sleep/memory wipe is basically part of the punishment loop. Just like on the ship, she needs to have that vague hope of changing things. When she sees the seagulls she'll realize getting home changed nothing, so the rock rolls back down the hill and she forgets.

    Such a fantastic movie.

    1. Woah, so glad to hear you loved this movie so much, it's certainly the film that can be seen many, many times.

      Yeah I agree about her being dead and paying the price for being a horrible mother. The other stuff really went over my head though, the ideas of loops or time travels in movies always confuse the hell out of me, because they are such difficult plots and one can easily make a mistake trying to decypher them.

      Yep, she definetly forgets somewhere on the sailboat, since in the end as the loop started again she still remembered, the movie could probably be seen on repeat and it would create the perpetual loop.

  3. Nice review. I quite enjoyed this film and found it rather refreshing, with Christopher Smith proving yet again to be quite an interesting director. It's such a difficult film to discuss though as it is so open to interpretation, but I like that people can have varying takes on the plot. I watched this a couple of years back and have been meaning to give it another go - perhaps something for the weekend.

    1. Thank you! This one definetly deserves a rewatch, I liked the film a lot but though the story culd have been a bit more explained or perhaps a clue here or there would be helpful. But it's definetly a great POV movie and George handles her part well.

  4. Nice review. This looks interesting, and I want to see how all these events play out. I'll give it a look at some point.

  5. Nice comic book look for the photos. What's the "73" in the first one for?

    I don't like spoilers and haven't seen this yet so just skimmed through.

    1. Thank you, glad you like them! It's the score out of 100 :)

  6. Excellent review -- well written, detailed, and balanced. I had never heard of this movie before, and now I'm on the fence about whether I'd like it. I love mysteries or thrillers with plenty of clues and red herrings. And I'm fine with films that leave certain things open to interpretation. However, I don't think I'd like those two things in the same movie. I like my mysteries solved and tied up at the end. :-)

    1. Thank you so much! Who knows maybe you cna solve it, just because I couldn't doesn't mean others won't. I mean it took me hours of reading about Mulholland Dr to finally figure it out :)

  7. The boat "Triangle" had an engine, they said that in the movie.
    And Jess isn't dead, she is in a loop, I would say Loop No. 30 or so.
    The loop begins when her son dies, when she gets on the boat there are 3 smaller loops. She does the loops to save her son, but forgets it each time the loop starts (like Sisyphus). to stop the loop she has to decide not to go on the boat and return to the cab, as told by the Ferryman, as you called him.
    But that means her son will stay dead.

    1. They did? They still didn't use it, though, so it seems a bit silly.

      But if she isn't dead why is she in the loop?

    2. yes, they should have turned on the engine as soon as the wind stopped.

      because she cheated death (didn't return to the cab as she promised),
      to save her son (she didn't know she had to save him, it was deja vu feeling that she had to go on the boat)

  8. I thought I commented on this while I was on holiday! Turns out it didn't come up! Boo!

    What I wanted to say was, I love this film. A lot. Probably more than you. Loved the loop aspect. Adored Melissa George in the film. The hooded figure was a tad predictable, but the rest of the film's surprises make up for it.

    Looking forward to Melissa George's new BBC Drama coming up soon!

    1. Haha, no worries! :)

      I'm glad you liked the film, I wasn't in love with it but it was a refreshing horror and that is not easy to come by.

      She is going to be in BBC's film? Awesome!

  9. She gets in the car to get away from everything, i guess trying to get a new beggining and to dump the body! Also she had to get on Aeolus because 1 it was a loop so had to happen 2 everyone else did so she had no choice and 3 she wanted to save her she wanted to do the loop all over again and get back to her son alive and try to save him...but why she would get killed in that car crash the second time makes no sense because she would know it was coming. She goes to the marine again to save her son to get to the end of the loop. Because she has to sleep to stay alive? And it doesn't look like she forgets, it looks more like she sees the rest of the loop. The ferryman would have to be there each time so she could get to the marina...and wouldn't we have seen him later on if he had been able to be in other places? The boat did have an engine, watch it more closely, he says that it does. The shot gun was out of bullets, that's why it was thrown at her in the first place because it could no longer be used to shoot her, what would the point be in picking up a gun with no bullets, an axe would obviously be more effective than this.

    I do like some of the points you have made and it has made me think about the links into greek mythology, but please, please, watch the movie more thorougly before writing a review with information in it that is wrong, check in the movie bout points you are going to write about.


    1. Before you are going to give people advice on writing you may wanna perfect your grammar, are you serious with this comment? It's absolutely unreadable, man,

      I thought it was a spam comment given how nonsensical the wall of text is but since you were so *kind* to give me advice I'm returning the favor.

  10. A couple things. First, the only time Jess has a chance to pick up the shotgun is when the assailant throws it at her. But the assailant only threw it because they were out of shells. So you can't blame Jess for not picking up an empty gun. Second, Jess's amnesia was not caused by her going to sleep but from her head trauma from the crash. Her son and the Jess in the trunk both die and the car flips over several times, so it's unlikely she got off with no damage at all. The head trauma causes her amnesia and also makes her sleep for several hours. I do agree that there was something supernatural about the cab driver, though I can't figure him out. But I don't think Jess actually "left him hanging" by not coming back. I think it was just meant to be a small joke. Like, "You'll come back, won't you?" "Oh yeah. I'll be back." Also, as other users have pointed out, they did have a motor, but I think they got hit by the storm before they could use it. I don't know if Jess is dead or not, but I agree that there's a parallel to Sisyphus, so your interpretation is plausible. All in all, not a bad movie. I liked the new take on the time travel cycle-y plot. Although the whole "bag on the head so people won't recognize timetravel me" is blatantly stolen from Nacho Vigalondo's Time Crimes. :)

  11. Why does she return to the boat actually?
    She knows whatever she does, it's not gonna save the child, and that it's a loop; when she sees the dead seagulls.
    She understands she's been there before and she wont remember a thing after she sleeps/faints on the boat. Then how does she plan on saving her child??? :0