Saturday, 20 August 2011

Triangle (Christopher Smith, 2009) Blu-Ray Mini-Review

Melissa George fights for her life in the twisty ship-bound thriller Triangle (Smith, 2009)

In what should have been an abandoned episode of The Twilight Zone, Melissa George plays Jess, a time-looping single mum stuck in the throes of (supposedly) the Bermuda Triangle (a long debunked myth which works as a built-in MacGuffin), courtesy of some non-specific plot mechanics. The movie is Triangle, and it's the third feature from British writer/director Christopher Smith, who has become relatively successful off the back of mining other people's ideas - Creep (2004) is a knock-off of the 1973 gristle-spinner Death Line (Sherman), for example, and Severance (2007) retools Deliverance (Boorman, 1972) for the English countryside. Here he's taking cues from a number of sources - Death Ship (Rakoff, 1980) and The Shining (Kubrick, 1980) among them - but Triangle is by no means terrible. In fact, while the derivative story may leave some viewers begging for a more original screenplay, the set-pieces prove exciting, and the film ultimately won me over.

Jess has been invited out sailing with friends, who I would describe in more detail, except that they're cannon fodder. Usually this would be a criticism, and when the movie blows limb-from-limb all of the side characters, leaving us with a last-girl-standing scenario 33 minutes in, you'd be forgiven, as I did, for rolling your eyes. I began to pick apart holes in the plot, but soon the film loops back on itself and proves much smarter than previously imagined. Questions are teasingly answered, all the while creating new conundrums which lure the viewer into Smith's labyrinthine mystery. It's not a hard one to crack, but his efficient pacing and heightened atmosphere (as an entry in the eerie ship sub-genre, it's a pretty creepy ride) ensures that we stay with it. Some nifty camerawork and committed performances (especially from ex-Home And Away star George) help matters too, and I soon forgot about the film making sense (it doesn't) and simply allowed it to wash over me.

Utter nonsense it may be, but Triangle is highly-tuned, knife-edged nonsense, and you could do a lot worse for cheap Saturday night entertainment. That being said, you could just watch an episode of The Twilight Zone. Series 1 - 3 are now available on Blu-Ray, so there's really no better time to catch up...

The Disc/Extras
Triangle is a relatively new flick, so the presentation is sharp and clear. The photography, courtesy of DP Robert Humphreys, is pretty good too, meaning that Blu-Ray is definitely the preferred format. The extras are surprisingly expansive, and very interesting. Outside of your standard director commentary (passionate, deconstructive), making of (detailed) and deleted scenes (minimal), there's also the option to scroll through storyboards for key sequences, and a 5-minute feature on the development of the storm sequence impresses. It's definitely a packed package, made with care, and there isn't a feature which feels like filler. Beware the edition with a 3D cover though - at the right (or wrong) angle it gives away a major plot twist.

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