Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #217
Number of Views: One
Release Date: 16 October 2009 (UK)
Sub-Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller
Country of Origin: United Kingdom, Australia
Running Time: 99 minutes
Director: Christopher Smith
Producers: Julie Baines, Chris Brown, Jason Newmark
Screenplay: Christopher Smith
Special Effects: Clint Ingram
Visual Effects: Ivan Moran, Matthew Twyford
Cinematography: Robert Humphreys
Score: Christian Henson
Editing: Stuart Gazzard
Studios: Icon Entertainment International, Framestore, UK Film Council, Pacific Film and Television Commission, Dan Films, Pictures in Paradise, Triangle Films
Distributors: Icon Film Distribution, First Look International
Stars: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman, Henry Nixon, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Liam Hemsworth, Bryan Probets
Suggested Audio Candy
Christian Henson “Lullaby”
I always did enjoy two things. Having my head messed with and old Twilight Zone re-runs. Actually the twain did meet on a number of occasions, indeed, the long running series became renowned for its perplexing paradoxes. The film I am about to appraise offers one such conundrum and its ambiguity I feel compelled to preserve thus this critique will be no cakewalk for Keeper. Trying to enlighten you about this little-known gem will be akin to traversing a mine-strewn battlefield clad in clown shoes but it just so happens I packed my pogo stick for such eventualities and left myself a scrawled note just in case. Confused? Good, now we’re on an even playing field.
It is a beautiful clear day, ideal sailing conditions and a unique opportunity for a little light sea-faring with some fellow shipmates. Single mum Jess (Turistas, 30 Days of Night and The Amityville Horror’s Aussie scream sovereign Melissa George) takes up an invitation by friend Greg (Michael Dorman) to join him and a close group of his buddies on his yacht for a day on the big blue. They head unwittingly into the eye of a savage unforeseen storm which causes their boat to capsize and forces them into taking refuge on a drifting ocean liner, named The Aeolus for anyone familiar with Greek mythology. which ghosts past their wrecked vessel.
That’s all you’re getting from me. I’m keeping it zipped beyond that as Triangle should be experienced with a blank canvas and inquisitive mind. It is an anomaly and, whilst it is foretold to where its trajectory will likely lead next, the real trick is in staying one step ahead of the game. At just under the halfway point I questioned where things could feasibly go from here and it is then that director Christopher Smith pulls the rug from beneath us and replaces it with ominous tarpaulin.
Up to that point we have been gifted with a slick slasher which has played its hand close to its chest and eked all the tension it can from its glorious location. The abandoned vessel, recalling one of my eighties darlings, Alvin Rakoff’s Death Ship, is an exquisite sandbox within which to have us floundering and he makes good with the tools at his disposal. Creaking decks, fleeting shadows and Christian Henson’s impressive score are all used to marvelous effect and then we hit an altogether different kind of monsoon.
It is a beautiful clear day, ideal sailing conditions and a unique opportunity for a little light sea-faring with some fellow shipmates. Not any more, now it becomes a piece of science fiction the likes of which take you to The Outer Limits and give its title a whole new purpose. Smith has been on a steady incline for some time now. From Creep to Severance and now to this, In George, he finally has an anchor to keep us docked while the world around us that he has fashioned shifts and changes at will.
She has already gained herself a rather tidy reputation, leaving homegrown soap opera to explore horror and picking her roles astutely. Here she displays all the desperation, weariness and gradually escalating nonchalance toward self-preservation that is warranted. If she is the star of the show then the gargantuan ocean liner offers her an isolated stage from which to gain her curtain call. What should be bustling with penguin suits, evening gowns and tiaras plays host only to only our own insecurities and it becomes insular despite, and also because of, being surrounded by wide open expanses of clear waters.
By the time you’ve been tilted onto the final table you think you’ve got it sussed and, indeed you may have, although Smith isn’t quite finished dumbfounding us and he closes in the only way that this film can connect its three corners. Forlorn is the word that best describes our main protagonist at this juncture and we’re feeling just as seasick. Waking nightmares are abound and he makes damned sure that we’re getting our ports mixed up with our starboards by this point. Aficionados will also notice oblique references to The Shining notably in the use of Room 237, ballroom and ax.
Triangle transcends genre and, more critically, exceeds expectation in a way that isn’t actualized often enough. Sadly, for a film that was universally well received, it failed to make a splash, notably through negating to open theatrically in the States. What a trick to miss, its concept may not be entirely original but its execution leaves nothing to be desired and I heartily recommend, nay implore, you consider taking this cruise yourselves. It is a beautiful clear day, ideal sailing conditions and a unique opportunity for a little light sea-faring with some fellow shipmates.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10
Grue Factor: 3/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: Smith has never been afraid to roll up his sleeves and run a nice bloodbath. This is luke-warm but, having said such, the grue is handled deftly and fiendishly with consequence adding to the shock factor considerably. One sterling example of this is an instance with a household hammer which shows Jess’s evolution with exquisite brevity but no cap on lasting impact. Add a couple of startling images and Triangle’s paradox becomes one worth perpetuating.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
© Copyright: Rivers of Grue™ Shadow Spark Publishing™