Triangle (Tie Saam Gok) (UK - DVD R2)
Reviewer Marcus Doidge checks out Triangle on this new Manga release...
Triangle (Tie Saam Gok) is directed by three different directors, Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To. Told in three thirty minutes segments, the movie looks at three just-about friends Fei (Louis Koo), Sam (Simon Yam) and Mok (Sun Hong Lei) who are all very much in need of some cash. With the idea of a bank heist being just beyond their comfort zones, a mysterious man approaches them in a local bar and sends them down a path that leads to buried treasure under the nearby council building.
Everything up to this point makes sense, but everything beyond makes Triangle one of the most abstract movie experiences I've had all year. For starters, Triangle isn't noticeably split into three segments with different directors at all. It runs its course with a normal three act structure and other than the different settings and different problems to solve, the segments never feel artistically different to one another. Never mind all that though, as the movie makes no sense anyway, and I don't mean in an experimental film sort of a way, as the story is a fairly simple one really. There’s just no development or focus to what is going on or the characters involved and nothing really held my interest because of it.
At the core of the tale are the three 'friends', which is a loose term at best here. They hardly know each other at all. They have nothing in common outside of money worries and none of them grabbed me as one to root for. Their relationships are never explored or expanded and frankly I didn't like any of them. As for the actual story - it's all over the place. At first it feels like an almost goonies-esq adventure story about lost treasure but then it becomes a gangster story and even a goofy heist bit of fun. It then trips into a pretty dark drama about Sam's wife, Ling (Kelly Lin), having an affair with dodgy cop, Wen (Lam Ka-Tung), and a sense that they plot to off Sam. Seriously this element gets crazy dark, even having crooked cop Wen running over a passerby and leaving him to die, which is never resolved.
This is really Triangle's biggest problem. There is so much going on within each character's set up, as well as the treasure through-line, that you just don't know what to feel about it. I had no idea what I wanted to happen, who I wanted to win or lose, or even if winning or losing was even an option. I didn't know if the treasure was important, I didn't know if Sam loved his wife or if he was a nut. I didn't know if what Fei was doing was funny or weird and I had almost no clue how we even arrived in the closing scenes, which consist of our main characters, some gangsters, a passerby cop and the craziest of tyre salesmen, all running around a field taking pot-shots at each other. Seriously, I couldn't for the life of me work out if this was being played for laughs or if I'd missed something in the translation. Mainly because what preceded this was one of the kookiest standoffs I'd ever seen and I wasn’t sure how to perceive the closing events after.
Don't get me wrong, I know what happened in the film. I understood the unravelling events but what all of it meant or what could be learnt from all of this is a mystery to me.
A pretty grainy image overall with very little in the way of good points. The image is a noisy one with darker scenes really suffering with blue tinting and muddiness.
Daytime exterior shots look okay, with some of the brighter colours showing themselves off, but generally it's a quite muted affair that really isn't a transfer that feels or looks as if it's had much thought put into it.
The best option on offer here is 5.0 and as with a lot of 5.0 tracks, Triangle comes with that slightly hollow effect to it, despite making pretty good use of the five speakers.
Dialogue is clear, if not a little echo-y in places and music and atmospherics are all handled quite well, even though the mix often has problems with being a little piercing when things get a little too loud.
None for Triangle, but a wad of trailers including Dead Space, Death Note, Bleach, Hellsing Ultimate, Tokyo Zombie, Karas and even one for the upcoming free-running action game, Mirrors Edge.
I'm sure there will be people out there who’ll find something in Triangle, but I just found it a bit of a mess. As with many movies with multiple directors, Triangle suffers from not quite being sure what it wants to be and because of that it totally lost my interest despite just about managing to hold my attention.
In fact, the only thing in this entire movie that I will probably remember in a year's time, other than that I didn't really like it, is that bat-shit crazy tyre salesman shaking his head about, yelling 'morning' and giving his prices for replacement tyres. Which is almost enough for me to recommend you check the movie out—almost.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 20th October 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.0 Cantonese, Dolby Stereo 2.0 Cantonese
Easter Egg: No
Director: Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, Johnnie To
Cast: Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Sun Honglei
Genre: Crime, Drama and Thriller
Length: 89 minutes
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