Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Triangle (2009)

There's something different to Triangle, which can be attributed to the cast, the script, the direction and the fact that rather than an being an American film, it is an Australian/British production. While the characters are American, it is both thematically and aesthetically very different to much US-born fare. Starring former Aussie soap actress/major film talent Melissa George (who never seems to age at all), it mixes the horror and thriller genres together in an effectively tense trapped-on-a-boat flick.

Jess (George), a young woman with a troubled life and past is taken on a boat trip with a few friends. A bizarre storm arrives and their boat is overturned, but salvation appears in the form of a seemingly deserted ocean liner. They jump aboard, and soon find that the ship may not be all that it seems. Jess has the oddest feeling she's been there before, and the feeling of deja vu keeps on growing as the minutes tick by.
Of course, before long, they find they're not alone, and a deadly game of cat-and-mouse begins. The thing is, this is no ordinary stalk-and-slash movie. It's much more complicated than that. Waaaaay more complicated.

In fact, if you check online, you'll see quite quickly that a bunch of people had no idea what was going on in the movie. Me? Just about. An ingenious time-loop tale, it plays like a mix of a Twilight Zone episode, Dead Calm, LOST and (oddly) I Know What You Did Last Summer.
The story may be confusing, but there is a definite atmosphere to Triangle that makes it hard to look away from. The premise is frightening, and some taut direction coupled with a crisp edit keeps the tension mounting. Melissa George is excellent in the lead role, and she really deserves top billing more often.

The first act seems to be setting you up for a by-the-numbers stalker yarn, but once you discover Jess is trapped in a certain series of events, the film becomes a nightmare, claustrophobic, unsettling and great to watch. It's a film that can garner one of two reactions in those who enjoy it.
Rather like The Sixth Sense, once you've seen it you know the twists, so you'll either never watch it again or you'll love to revisit it and take in the details you may have missed first time round. There isn't a huge amount of dialogue, the story unfolding through reaction and movement more than tons of exposition, which works in the film's favour as a nightmarish experience akin to a cyclic anxiety dream. It's not for the easily unnerved, but to me it's a marvellously crafted piece of chilling cinema.

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