Woody Harrelson as Thomas Smith, cynical
Communist Marxist luxury yacht captain
Mediterranean Sea, Summer 2020
Film: Triangle of Sadness
Release Date: September 28, 2022
Director: Ruben Östlund
Costume Designer: Sofie Krunegård
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As we near the 95th Academy Awards ceremony in a couple weeks, I wanted to look at one of the more offbeat nominees. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, Triangle of Sadness joins the current trends of productions like The Menu, Parasite, Succession, and The White Lotus that satirize—often darkly—the entitlement and excess of the wealthy ruling class.
The commentary is clear in Triangle of Sadness, with its middle act set aboard a luxury yacht where the staff—itself split by the tip-earning stewards and below-decks crew—are at the whim of their ultra-privileged passengers that range from social media influencers to arms dealers and oligarchs like the gregarious Dimitry (Zlatko Burić).
At the helm, or at least supposed to be, is the ship’s American captain Thomas Smith (whose surname is never mentioned on screen, I believe, though it certainly recalls the similarly named captain of the Titanic, a disaster which also has become allegorical for class disparities in the decades since it sank in 1912.) An outspoken Marxist, Thomas doesn’t fit neatly into any of the passenger and crew categories, though he’s the first to admit—once he stumbles through the challenges of drunken alliteration—that he’s “a shit socialist because I have too much! I have too much abundance in my life, I’m not even—I’m not a worthy socialist… a shit socialist.” Continue reading