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Triangle (2009)

First Look Studios
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/2/2010

All Ratings out of
Video: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/27/2010

It would be safe to assume that most serious film fans have a director or group of directors whose work they follow. Those fans go out of their way to ensure that they see most/every movie by this director(s). But, have you ever realized that, without trying, you have seen the bulk of a director's work. This is the case with me and Christopher Smith. I was underwhelmed by his 2004 feature debut, the very formulaic Creep. Smith shook things up with his second film, Severance, a movie which combined comedy, gore, and violence into a satisfying blend. With his latest outing, Triangle, Smith has gotten more existential and introspective.

Melissa George stars in Triangle as Jess, a single mom who has an autistic son (Joshua McIvor). Jess accepts an invitation to go sailing with Greg (Michael Dorman). She arrives at the marina, where she meets Greg's young protege, Victor (Lim Hemsworth), as well as the other guests, Downey (Henry Nixon), Sally (Rachael Carpani), and Heather (Emma Lung) (Downey and Sally brought Heather as a blind-date for Greg, but he's interested in Jess.) Despite the fact that Jess seems a bit distant and that she takes a nap (?!), the group enjoys the trip. That is, until a sudden storm capsizes the boat. Stranded on the upside-down vessel, all seems hopless, until a cruise-ship suddenly appears. Assuming that they are rescued, the survivors board the ship. However, once on-board they discover a place which seems suspended in time and where danger lurks around ever corner.

One of my criticisms of Creep was that it felt like a combination of a lot of other movies. The same can be said of Triangle. The movie reminded me of Jacob's Ladder, the obscure 1980 film Death Ship and Carnival of Souls. The movie doesn't exactly copy any of these movies (well, maybe Death Ship), but rather feels as if it was influenced by them. However, those who have seen Timecrimes, you will certainly feel a sense of deja vu. While the production schedules of the two films makes it difficult to accuse Smith of stealing, the similarities between the two movies are unmistakable, and one must say that it's unfortunate that Triangle came out after Timecrimes.

Comparisons aside, this is still a solid, intriguing film. Despite the fact that the movie does a terrible job of trying to pass off Australia as Florida, Triangle gets a lot of mileage out of its relatively low budget. There are some questionable special effects here, but the ocean liner looks great and it helps to sell the story. The acting is solid and kudos to George for looking so dowdy and pale here.

However, it's the story which is the real star of Triangle. While things seem a bit off at first, the film opens as a fairly straight-forward thriller. When the storm hits, we wonder if this may be some sort of "survival at sea" story. But, once the group boards the ship, the story moves into the Twilight Zone. Paying close attention will reward the viewer, as the story begins to fold on top of itself. The real payoff comes with a shot which reinforces where the story is going and proves that Smith is growing as a director because this shot tells us more than any dialogue could. Yes, the ending gets a little out of control, but this must be an interesting story, as it is sure to incite debate once the movie is done.

Triangle isn't a perfect film, but it will certainly stay with you after you watch it. Yes, we all wonder why a cruise ship? Yes, we all want to know exactly where the story begins? And yes, the movie reminded me of Timecrimes. But, I enjoy a good mindf&*k movie and Triangle certainly fits the bill. If nothing else, I'm looking forward to Christopher Smith's next movie.

Triangle gets stuck in a rut on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of First Look Studios. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The colors are a tad washed out (was this intentional?), but the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture shows a nice amount of detail and the depth is very impressive, especially when we see the ship in the distance. The Disc offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.7 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. You know, Iím still not convinced that TrueHD and DTS-HD are equal, but Iím beginning to suspect that I was the victim of some bad sound mixes with early TrueHD titles, as there have been some impressive tracks lately and this is another good example. The audio is great throughout the film. When the big ship first appears, I thought that the rumbling sub effects were going to kick my received into safety mode. Once aboard the ship the stereo and surround sound effects are quite pleasing as they do a great job of pinpointing the locations of the various speakers. The great audio effects and sound mix really draw the viewer into the action.

The Triangle Blu-ray Disc contains only two extras. "Cast & Crew Interviews" (6 minutes) offers comments from the director, producers, and the cast, who discuss the origin of the story, the characters and the production. This also contains some on-set footage and a look at the ship set. But, this is oddly cut, as the segments abruptly stop and go to black before a new one begins. The only other extra is the TRAILER for the film.

Review Copyright 2010 by Mike Long