Spling reviews Triangle of Sadness, Your Place or Mine and Kimi as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a comedy drama, a romantic comedy and a crime drama thriller.
Starting off with a film now on Labia Home Screen…
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
A fashion model celebrity couple join an eventful cruise for the super-rich.
Writer-Director: Ruben Östlund
Stars: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean and Woody Harrelson
Triangle of Sadness refers to the small triangular space where your nose meets your forehead, the epicentre of facial expression and emotion. Balancing precariously between happiness and sadness, it’s as if Östlund aligned it with the Bermuda Triangle when it comes to storytelling. Starting with a group of male models, the satirical and political undertone of this comedy drama is established, poking fun at the profession whilst using it as a segue into the upstairs-downstairs political hierarchy of a cruise ship. Enjoying the same privileges as its first-class guests, the fashion model/influencer couple serve as the audience’s gateway. There is a strong dose of schadenfreude, depicting the epitome of leisure luxury only to poke fun with role reversals. Östlund wanted to capture the awkward, petty and sheepish moments that life throws at us. Choosing pithy 90s pop tunes, the peppy soundtrack’s stark contrast echoes the film’s underlying surreal and allegorical ambitions. Östlund isn’t quite trolling his audience, but does take delight in subverting expectations and subjecting us to some extreme scenes. Trying to constantly recalibrate for uncomfortable comedy while telling a coherent story does take some doing and while it doesn’t always hit the sweet spot, there are enough masterfully orchestrated and unforgettable moments. Dickinson and Dean have palpable chemistry and while they make way for ensemble comedy drama, it’s always reassuring to have them around. Triangle of Sadness is an adventurous arthouse comedy that’s content to taunt you with its brazen and prickly mix of awkward laughs and political satire.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a movie now on Netflix…
YOUR PLACE OR MINE
Two long-distance best friends change each other’s lives when they do a house swap.
Writer-Director: Aline Brosh McKenna
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher and Zoe Chao
Your Place or Mine is a sweet romantic comedy, featuring a charming cast and an unexpected co-lead pairing. This dynamic actually helps inform the relationship, limiting expectations and giving them the space to grow closer as a love-in-later-life story plays out. Drawing both stars out of the shadows, it’s quite refreshing to see them on screen again, delivering the kind of performances we’ve come to expect. While their star power and charming chemistry is the main reason to see this romcom, it’s further enhanced by the presence of the hilarious Zoe Chao. While funny, one miscast actor’s wooden performance is at odds but doesn’t overturn the applecart. The story’s concept aims for the realm of Nora Ephron, offering a modern take through social media, yet reclaiming some sentimental scrapbook charm in the process. It’s unusual for this kind of gentle, sweet romantic comedy to even exist by today’s standards. Delving into the kindness of good friends, exploring the what-if possibilities of pathways not taken and the romantic notions of “penpals” in the modern age, Your Place or Mine has some fairly noble romantic aspirations. This cute movie keeps things light and breezy, harnessing some serious nostalgia with the music of The Cars. While not quite Uncle Buck, it’s amusing to have a slick bachelor trying to win the cool “uncle” approval of the kid he’s trying to look after. Your Place or Mine is far from perfect, yet sweet and delightful enough to serve as a welcome distraction with its old school romance and quirky comedy.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
And finally a film now on Showmax…
An agoraphobic Seattle tech worker uncovers evidence of a crime.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Zoë Kravitz, Byron Bowers and Rita Wilson
There have been a number of remakes of Hitchcock’s undying classic Rear Window in recent years, speaking to the lack of fresh ideas, budgetary constraints and master filmmaker’s lasting influence. Coming in the wake of the pandemic, Kimi is one of the more timely efforts, using the concept of an apartment-based thriller as more of a launchpad. Prolific filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is a pioneer, having shot a feature film on an iPhone, he’s not afraid to play. Settling into the isolated world of an agoraphobic young woman, her self imposed lockdown conditions are jeopardised when she picks up and deciphers some audio on a Siri-type platform, which points to some form of domestic abuse. Kravitz’s intrepid yet vulnerable performance keeps a curious tension as her naturally self-centred existence is compelled on an other-centred quest. While Kimi starts off with a hokey feel, centred around a spunky stay-at-home, Soderbergh adds layers through a slow build that gradually escalates as the adventure takes to the streets. Touching on privacy, alienation, loneliness and our overreliance on digital, this spirited little thriller leans on some timely and thought-provoking themes without becoming preachy. A smart idea for a modest budget thriller, Kimi plays to its strengths, largely carried by Kravitz, immersing itself in our culture of self-sufficiency and safely guided home by Soderbergh’s assured direction.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS… a colourful, entertaining, well-acted, zany and brazen paradox of a comedy drama… A solid 7!
YOUR PLACE OR MINE… charming co-leads buoy this quirky, sweet-natured and modern take on a Nora Ephron type romcom… A satisfactory 6!
KIMI… a curious concept, spirited lead and vivid storytelling drives this familiar, modest and timely thriller… A satisfactory 6!
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