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Triangle – film review

March 12, 2014

TRIANGLE

A cleverly-made mystery mind fuck.

triangle - melissa george

An Australian-United Kingdom co-production. Written and directed by Chris Smith. Starring Melissa George, Michael Dorman, Henry Nixon, Rachel Carpani, Helen Lung and Liam Hemsworth. Year of release: 2009. Running time: 99 minutes.

Five friends become trapped aboard an abandoned passenger liner after their yacht capsizes off the coast of Florida during a freak storm. As they attempt to unravel the mystery of their missing rescuers, they soon find themselves targeted by a masked gunman determined to kill them all. Things turn even stranger when one of them suspects they may have been here before.

More a psychological thriller than out-and-out horror movie, a mystery puzzle box     of a film – Triangle feels exactly like a fever dream. Eerily atmospheric, creepy as hell, the location is similar in mood to Kubrick’s The Shining. With its labyrinthine corridors, the passenger ship Aeolus is very reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel (there is even a cabin with the number 237). The film also, in an odd way, reminded me     of Back To The Future Part II – where Marty McFly returns to 1955 to witness a previous version of himself experiencing the events of the original film. Without giving too much away (although this is by no means a time travel movie), a similar thing happens more than once in Triangle. The film essentially takes the myth of Sisyphus and retools it as a Twilight Zone-style moral mind fuck. At one point (early on) there   is a phonograph needle stuck in a record groove – a direct reference to the lead character’s predicament.

I was taken a little off-guard to begin with while watching this movie – as the obvious Queensland suburban setting which opens the film gave me the false impression the events which followed were taking place off the coast of Australia. It was only while viewing the ‘making of’ documentary afterwards that I learned it was actually meant   to be Florida. Adding to the initial confusion is the fact that Melissa George (playing the lead) employs her natural aussie accent, whereas the rest of the Australian cast struggle to maintain convincing American accents.

Smith’s film is imbued with a palpable sense of mounting dread akin to Jacob’s Ladder. Tonally, the film very much reminds me of Adrian Lyne’s existential masterpiece – in that we follow the lead character through a waking nightmare – experiencing events unfolding as they themselves experience them. Another film which comes to mind in this respect is Dark City. Thanks to the intricate nature       of Smith’s screenplay (which took him a good three years to write) Triangle clearly demands repeat viewings. And I for one can’t wait to revisit this film and delve further into the cleverness of its construction.

Viewed on Blu-ray.

4 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

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2 Comments
  1. Nice review, Greg. I stumbled over this clever movie while channel-surfing late one night and was pleasantly surprised when it delivered considerably more than the low-rent thrills I’d expected. It stuck in my head for some time afterwards and, like you, I’m keen to watch it again.

    • gregory moss permalink

      Cheers Graham. 🙂 It’s a little gem of a film – and it’s terrific seeing it gaining the attention it deserves.

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