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5th Mar 10
That blonde from Home And Away gets caught up in a complicated ocean-bound mind-fuck scenario possibly caused by eating loads of cheese and snorting ginger during a late night screening of Time Crimes with all the subtitles removed and replaced with German language gardening tips. ‘Tis the only plausible explanation.
Following the suitably grungy, nasty Death Line homage Creep and the witty Severance - a novel Office influenced backwoods horror satire with one sublime exploding plane gag - writer/director Chris Smith continues to show his versatility while staying within the genre he loves. Triangle is a disorientating mind-fuck that cannily (and atmospherically) sets itself up as an eerie, supernatural Bermuda Triangle movie, with a strong echo of nautical horrors Death Ship and Ghost Ship . Thereafter it turns into a dizzying multiple-reality head-trip punctuated by potent shock moments.
It’s certainly a strong showcase for Melissa George, taking her most challenging movie role to date and, despite her character’s disturbed state, looking typically great clad in hot pants and white vest throughout. She’s a troubled young woman whose mind seems to be on her autistic son (and more besides) when she joins a yachting day trip with her friends. A spectacular storm sequence overturns the boat and forces them to take refuge on a mysteriously appearing, abandoned cruise liner named the SS Aeolus. It’s on this ship that George gets caught up in an escalating psychological nightmare as a series of murders repeat themselves, each with an additional alternative version of herself.
The ambitious circular narrative of Triangle is hard to second guess as Smith returns to scenes we’ve already experienced from different angles with a different understanding of what we are seeing. George, wielding an axe and playing multiple roles with different levels of menace, madness and sympathy, offers a tour de force - particularly unsettling are the suburban framing scenes where she portrays a violent, abusive mom.
Smith proves his directorial savvy with startling bursts of violence, a pervasive tension, and a persistent sense of menace even in the most picturesque ocean-bound sequences. The central storm set piece is well executed, and the sinister cruise liner used to creepy effect. There are startling left-field shocks and at least one great visual coup: George’s discovery of multiple gull-desecrated cadavers of the same woman in a gruesome pile provides a strikingly surreal / disquieting image.
Triangle’s main problem, apart from not knowing when to quit in the final furlong and laying on the symbolism with a trowel, is its uncanny (though apparently coincidental) resemblance to last year’s Spanish gem Time Crimes. The Machinist and Donnie Darko, among others, are clear influences, but it’s Time Crimes’ multiple realities and memorable, mysterious bandaged figure of fear that are regularly evoked in Smith’s otherwise distinctive movie.