Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Recursive Lullaby of Death

Triangle 2009 UK/Australia
Directed by Christopher Smith Icon DVD Region 2

Warning! Here be spoilers...

Okay, sorry about this but I really can’t think of a great way to review this movie without referring to it’s narrative structure and... well, therein lies the main weakness of the movie actually. It's not going to be spoiler free if you talk about its anatomy.

Triangle is a nicely (really nicely) shot movie where “beautiful people” who get caught in a sea storm and board a seemingly deserted cruise liner move through impeccably framed shots and mostly get killed a few times each. And it’s great just to look at, but storywise I’m just not sure an hour and a half feature film is the best medium to explore this kind of story. It may have been a lot better as a short.

That being said, I must admit to enjoying it a lot more seeing it the second time on DVD than I did on its initial release in the cinema... and this is why...

A while before Triangle premiered in UK cinemas there was a great trailer for it doing the rounds. And it looked like it had an intriguing premise and did exactly what a trailer is supposed to do. It made me not want to miss this at the cinema because even though it had the hallmarks of an American teen slasher film (and I’m really not a big fan of those for the most part unless it’s Carpenter... give me a proper giallo any day of the week... the Italians do it so much better) it also had a pile of dead bodies of the same woman scattered on the ground and so the big pull was that, for some yet to be explained reason, these teenage slasher style victims were getting killed over and over again.

So I rush out to see it on the first week of its release and I sit there in the darkened, celluloid church knowing what's coming and am frantically trying to figure out the end of the movie,.. what the explanation could be that will explain this recursive lullaby of death. And at the end, nice cyclic ending that it is, there was absolutely no explanation offered as to why the bizarre events on screen have been unfolding as they have. So the film just becomes an exercise in editing and visual structure.

And that’s fine. I’m the last person to knock the celebration of style over technique. The medium is the message and all that. Anyone who knows me well would vouch for the fact that story and plot are, for me, the least important elements of a movie. And even though I cry a lot at certain movies, I’ll still be steadfast in my denial of the storyline as anything other than an element to drive the visuals.

That being said though, it would have been nice if the writers could have at least attempted to rustle up a semi-credible explanation for their haunting flights of fancy because it is such a brilliant idea. As it stands the movie is, perhaps, a bit of a one trick pony.

However, I found that when I was free of the constant gnawing stress of trying to figure out the ending on my second time around, I enjoyed the movie a lot more on it’s own terms and it is one that I’ll probably revisit at some point if I ever clear my ongoing backlog of DVDs I have to watch (yeah, and pigs may gravitate towards the sun).

The film has a reasonably interesting score, which gets the odd spin now and again, by Christian Henson which features some nice female wordless vocals by Dot Allison and Synergy Vocals and that's available for your listening pleasure from moviescoremedia.

In conclusion then, I think that I wouldn’t, in all conscience, recommend watching this movie to anyone... but I would recommend that they watch it twice!

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