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Blu-ray Review: Triangle (2009)

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Movie

Triangle is the kind of movie that is difficult to properly recap without giving away too many surprises. Which may be why the studio opted for the much more bland route of marketing this as some kind of generic slasher/horror flick. It is most definitely not that, being much more a cerebral suspense thriller (albeit with generous violence). Mixing styles of classic Twilight Zone-esque mysteries with supernatural thrillers, the movie ends up having a feel all its own.

Early on, it would be easy to peg the movie as treading very shallow and familiar waters. A group of good-looking friends set out for a day at sea. But when a strange storm pops up out of nowhere – as strange storms tend to do – and nearly drowns them, they seek refuge on the first thing that comes their way: a large cruise ship. But once on board, they find it to be abandoned. Until bodies start piling up… At this point, the plot has direct-to-video written all over it. But about halfway through the film, and then all the way to the end, things take a sharp turn for the better, and the plot and timeline of the film twist inward on itself into a looping, confusing mobius strip of suspense. As the characters sink farther into the ship, the feeling that they have been there before becomes more and more disturbingly real. Triangle begs to be re-watched, especially as some of the earlier scenes that at first seemed generic or throw-away take on a completely different tone as the movie unfolds.

One of the more unique elements to the film is that is doesn't quite work in a strict linear fashion. Although I'm hesitant to use the Memento example (as it's not like that film), it does take similar liberties with its structure of storytelling. The reveals aren't as much conclusion as they are clarity and revelation on prior events, and ultimately provide for a much more rewarding viewing experience, instead of a simple "everybody dies!" or "they're all okay!" ending. Triangle goes down the much more dangerous road of originality and thankfully succeeds.

The small cast of actors, led by Melissa George and Michael Dorman, give very strong performances. George especially has the difficult task of having to react throughout the film with wildly varying levels of knowledge and foreknowledge, and she does a commendable job. The film is ultimately undone by a few plot holes that keep it from being simply fantastic. Because of this it is just really good, but will still have you turning the plot over in your mind days after viewing. It's nice to know there are still films like that – especially in a genre not always known for keeping unique storytelling at the fore.

Video/Audio

As a lower-budget film, there is part of me that is forgiving of some visual anomalies. After all, the lack of funds for more seamless CG effects means that your expectations should be dialed in to match. And the actual look of the film is quite good, on the whole, which makes the odd bits stand out more. There are sections where they just tried to go with a much too high-contrast look, and whole scenes just get washed out in the process, or other scenes where the focus is so soft as to be smeared (both of these situations are more prevalent with the outside, water settings). On the other hand, it creates a very stark contrast for "outside world" and "inside mystery" (although styled in the wrong directions, I would argue). Regarding the actual 1080p encode, it translates those debatable shortcomings just fine, and they're more an issue of intent and source material than presentation. There are really no discernible instances of compression or noise, making this a rather nice transfer, and I can only suspect very faithful to the filmmakers' intent.

The audio, on the other hand, is consistently well done. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track was left in very capable hands and offers an impressively in-your-face presentation. Everything from storms, ship noises, frequent gun shots and soundtrack cues are rich and powerful. Dialogue mixing is handled with the appropriate amount of care for the genre. This strong audio track gives a nice boost of presentation to a good film.

Bonus Material

There is only one main bonus item, which is a cast and crew interview feature (SD, 5:59). It is poorly edited and mildly informative. It's also chock-full of spoilers, so make sure you've seen the film before hitting the extra(s). Other than that, there is just the theatrical trailer (SD, 1:51) which you will need to access through the "Previews" section.

Conclusion

Triangle proves the point that you don't need a ridiculous budget to make a quality movie. You just need a good story, good cast and a good director to tie it all together. Although just shy of something to freak out about, it is an easy recommendation and something that also holds up to repeated viewing. It comes as a bare-bones release, but the Blu-ray for Triangle offers an excellent presentation for a good film.

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