Favorites from Cannes Film Festival that earn their praise

By Farah Bassyouni Dec 2, 2022

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the chance to see a couple of fan favorites from Cannes Film Festival: “Triangle of Sadness” and “Decision to Leave.” 

 

“Triangle of Sadness”

“Triangle of Sadness” is a dark political commentary film from Sweden. It won the prestigious top award, the Palme d’Or, at Cannes Film Festival in May and was recently released to select theaters. 

I had very high expectations for the film, but I left the theater slightly disappointed. The easiest way to describe “Triangle of Sadness” is “Gilligan’s Island” if it were more pretentious. The film follows a group of wealthy passengers on a yacht cruise who become shipwrecked and stranded on an abandoned island.

The political commentary in the film was spelled out and less clever than I expected from a Palme d’Or winner. There’s obvious role reversals that occur between the ship’s crew and passengers after the wreck that left me feeling underwhelmed by the creativity, or lack there-of, of writer-director Ruben Ostland. 

The highlight of the film was a political discussion between an American communist and a Russian capitalist that occurs during the chaos of the shipwreck. During the conversation, the camera violently rocked back and forth with the ship and quick cuts added to the intensity of the situation.

My biggest complaint regarding this film is its runtime. In 2015, Microsoft found that the average human’s attention span has decreased by 25 percent since 2000. Despite that, the average length of the highest grossing movies has increased by 17 percent since 1990, according to Statistica. If a movie is long because it has a very strong plot and characterization, there’s no problem.

But “Triangle of Sadness,” like most movies I’ve seen recently, feels far too long. With an egregious run time of 147 minutes, the movie drags in a number of places and I felt genuinely bored a few times. This movie could have shaved off 30 minutes from its runtime without losing any substance.

Setting my initial expectations aside, “Triangle of Sadness” acts as a relatively funny commentary on the upper-class.

3/5 Stars

 

“Decision to Leave”

Park Chan-wook won Best Director at Cannes for his outstanding work on “Decision to Leave.” Every shot of the film is overflowing with Chan-wook’s style, making even the most mundane scenes tense and exciting.

The thrilling adventure unravels the mystery of a businessman who was pushed off, or fell off, the top of a mountain. I don’t want to spoil any of the plot because it kept me guessing from start to finish.

Chan-wook worked on the mini series “The Little Drummer Girl,”in 2018, and the pacing of “Decision to Leave” reflects that. It felt like there were nine acts in this film. Characters went through multiple arcs and there were three separate times when I thought the movie was over.

“Decision to Leave” blurs lines between suspicion and love in an intense romance-thriller. I can’t think of another movie that’s able to pull off both of those genres as well as this film. 

It’s rare to find a film with a plot as engaging as “Decision to Leave” that also builds its characters so well. I felt like I’d known lead detective Hae-joon for my entire life after 30 minutes of this film. 

The character work is helped by the incredible performances of Park Hae-il, who plays Hae-joon, and Tang Wei, who plays his love interest throughout the film.

All of these aspects come together to create a true masterpiece.

5/5 Stars

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