Sunday, February 14, 2010

Triangle (2009) - It's All Greek to Me

On the Menu: TRIANGLE (2009)
Ingredients: Melissa George, Michael Dorman, Rachael Carpani, Henry Nixon, Emma Lung and Liam Hemsworth. Directed by Christopher Smith. Run time: 98 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I first heard of Christopher Smith four years ago when was holding a poster contest. One of his entries was what turned out to be the poster for his 2004 film CREEP; it didn't win, but it should have been disqualified for violating the rule of not being previously published. That didn't stop me from watching CREEP though. It was okay, but it was his horror/comedy SEVERANCE that I really enjoyed. Smith's previous films aside, it was the film's title that got me interested. I will gladly watch any movie dealing with the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster or Sherlock Holmes. It's more of a Bermuda Triangle-Haunted Ship-Time Travel-Twilight Zone movie.

Melissa George (30 DAYS OF NIGHT, "Grey's Anatomy") plays Jess, the frazzled mother of an autistic son. She's invited by her friend Greg (Dorman) to go sailing. Four others are onboard for the ride, and, unlike Jess, seemingly excited to be there. All's fine and well until the wind ceases and a storm approaches. The sailboat overturns, but a luxury ocean liner appears out of nowhere just when things are looking bleak. Once aboard, they determine the ship deserted, but Jess is having a really weird feeling of déjà vu. But, the worst is yet to come. A hooded figure emerges and is hellbent on killing everyone.

The story seems straightforward, but once it gets going you realize just how fractured the narrative is.

Tough to Swallow: There are a couple of CGI elements that are pretty bad (namely the sea gull and seeing the sailboat from the ocean liner's deck). The DVD cover art ruined the film's initial twist for me. The most disappointing aspect is the DVD is lacking in special features. A commentary track or making-of featurette would have done wonders to help those who don't truly understand the point of the film.

Something to Chew On: I was paying super-close attention to the opening shots, and there are tiny details, e.g. a child's toy, fridge magnets, a three-digit number and a street sign, that either foreshadow events to come or tie in with something later in the film. The three-digit number, I think, might be a reference to Kubrick's THE SHINING (although the movie might draw more comparisons to TIMECRIMES). Plus, if you're up on your Greek mythology, the name of the ocean liner, S.S. Aeolus, brings its own connotations. Aeolus was the ruler of the winds, and the wind oddly stops moments before the ship enters the picture. A story related to Aeolus is discussed briefly in the film, and, to me, it's the key to comprehending the plot (and it's VERY apparent that most of the reviewers/critics of TRIANGLE failed to catch it).

The film currently has a 6.7 user rating on (3,410 votes).

Sides: The DVD includes about six minutes of cast and crew interviews. The discussions range from George's performance to shooting locations. I was interested to see that they constructed half of an ocean liner at the end of a peninsula, but they don't really focus on it for long. The trailer is also included on the disc.

Aftertaste: TRIANGLE isn't a conventional genre film. Reading the DVD case at the rental store will make you think it's a slasher flick or Bermuda Triangle mystery. Well, it's both, but it's so much more. The film is determined not to be a whodunit, but more of a why-is-it-happening story. I love movies that mess with your mind, and this is one you'll definitely want to discuss with someone afterward.

Comparisons to TIMECRIMES (I strongly recommend seeing it, by the way) might be warranted given there's a hooded crazy and a time travel element, but the infusion of the Greek myth and the haunting performance of George makes TRIANGLE stand out on its own. I love the tiny details Smith left early on, and, despite the crappy sea gull, there is one wowing effect that I will NOT spoil here (loose lips sink ships, right?). However, the effect is quite eerie and pretty freakin' awesome. I look forward to Smith's next feature, BLACK DEATH, which should be out this year. TRIANGLE took a plot device and gave it a backstory by simply alluding to a myth. It may or may not float your boat. It did mine.

On a side note, feta cheese is good, garbanzo beans are okay, but Greek yogurt is blah.


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