Groundhog Day on a boat. Or more accurately, Timecrimes with more money and less humour.
Brit-director Christopher Smith’s latest both disappoints and entertains; it’s bolstered by superb set-pieces and a committed turn from Melissa George, but hampered by dodgy logic and a sense of déjà vu.
George plays Jess, a troubled mother on a boat trip with friends when a freak storm capsizes them, leaving all stranded at sea until a mysterious ocean liner hoves into view. But when they board, they find the boat is deserted. Sort of…
Triangle has nothing to do with the Bermuda Triangle, despite the spectacularly ominous storm sequence early on. The title instead refers to the repetitive three-part-structure time loop that anchors the movie, a conceit which makes it dificult to write about without spoilers.
In summary, then: the first part doesn’t hold water; the second part is intriguing and has at least one gorgeous, punch-in-the-guts moment before eventually turning repetitive (which is, admittedly, the point); and the third part is a mix of freshness and cliché, predictability and cruel surprise.
Fans of Smith’s last, Severance, may feel he’s taken a backwards step. Compared to that film’s fine balance of giggles and gore, Triangle takes itself terribly seriously. It’s also a virtual one-woman show for the (admittedly excellent) George, with secondary characters sketchily drawn and throwaway.
Triangle recently premiered at FrightFest, where excellent Spanish thriller Timecrimes was screened the year before. Smith was in attendance and made a point of explaining he’d come up with the idea for Triangle over four years ago.
The luck of the draw, then, but it’s impossible not to compare the two. And for all its visual flair and bravery, Triangle feels lacking in the wake of Timecrimes. Shame Smith can’t go back in time and get there first…
The story springs several leaks, but a cool concept, striking set-pieces and an outstanding central performance manage to keep Christopher Smith’s vessel afloat.