Triangle Blu-ray Review
PictureTriangle comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p resolution encoded using the AVC codec and framed within a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The disc itself is locked to region B.
The image is something of a tale of two halves, but fortunately both are of a decent standard and perfectly indicative of their artistic styles. The exterior scenes are often over exposed, with the bright sunshine being used as a tool in order to create a dream like quality to the early scenes. The huge swathes of white on display in the harbour and on characters' clothing find their highlights blown, but this was clearly the intention as mentioned in the director's commentary. Smith uses sunshine in a manner that other directors might rely on mist. It obscures edges and brings with it an image that is at once crisp and yet slightly hazy. Detail in these scenes is clear and even when white surfaces seem like they're starting to bloom, they still retain a lot of detail within. Textures never become blankets of light, with even the boat in pure sunshine retaining some complexities to its outer shell.
Once inside The Aeolus things take a darker turn, in terms of both artistic direction and detail on show. The sunshine of the moments before is replaced with an almost fog-like murkiness in the air. Shadow detail isn't pushed to the fore with this look and unfortunately the result is an image that lacks the depth of the exterior scenes. What is added into these moments is a splash of colour other than white and the multiple shades of brown used by the period liner are varied and when brighter light sources are introduced the fabrics and textures of the art deco furnishings really come to life. The palette never moves much beyond its clearly defined pastel shades but there is no inconsistency to the shades on display. Skin tones remain similarly consistent and life-like, with the flush of Jess's cheeks later on showing that there is life in the subdued nature of the make-up.
The only minor flaw that raises its head is that of the mid distance taking a hit in terms of clarity. Close up shots show off the sharpness of this disc wonderfully, with faces swathed in detail. Yet when there are elements in the fore and background that need to be witnessed, the ensuing shots exhibit a slight softness that, whilst never jarring, just pulls back our expectations and reminds us of the small budget that this was accomplished on. It is still a highly competent and incredibly pleasing image though and bar a couple of minor niggles could perhaps have attained reference standards.
SoundSound options for Triangle are limited to a single English DTS-HD Master Audio track.
If the picture was a restrained affair then the horses have certainly been let loose for the audio side of things. The score of Christian Henson is wonderfully realised by this track, allowing the subtleties to breathe and slowly build. The high frequencies are crisp and sharp, yet integrate extremely well with the strange breathy vocal sounds that emanate alongside them. Once you start to hear the sounds of suburbia, the old man mowing his lawn and the sprinklers watering the grass, it becomes clear that this is a very well designed layered affair.
Even though there are multiple noises at any one time, the speech maintains its clarity, being well prioritised. It is a sign of a great mix when there can be a myriad of effects involved and dialogue occasionally running in between and the mix still holds onto its balance. The action really kicks off once the storm front looms into view, with countless little clangs of metal, the smashing of water against the side of the vessel, the wind rushing and rain pouring whilst having characters shouting to one another, winding and cutting sails and ropes. The LFE at these moments lets its presence be known in no small manner, rumbling away and adding great depth to the feelings of a compressing soundscape.
This use of swelling noises and cacophonies is utilised more than once in the film and it is to its credit that it never seems telegraphed. The noises build with pace and yet don't push too hard or become imbalanced. Once matters reach their height you almost become acclimatised to the sheer volume, until a sudden cut brings with it a silence that is like a bucket of water to the face. Layered, balanced and mixing subtlety with power, this mix brings out the best of this film.
Director Christopher Smith joins us to give his insights into the production and meanings of the film. As a fan of commentary tracks, I'm afraid to say I found this to be something of a let down. Rather than focussing on the visual cues that might give us some clue as to what is actually real or not, Smith instead tends to continue treading the same ground regarding a few minor production details and mainly praising Melissa George's performance and how well everything turned out. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but to see what are probably significant symbols of the plot pass by on screen while the director waffled on about the character of Jess became increasingly infuriating. If you were expecting explanations or even the merest hint of a clue as to the significance of the rotting banquet, room numbers or Jess's watch then you'll be sorely disappointed. This is one of the few instances where a commentary has actually dulled my liking for the film itself, as it leaves you to wonder if there is any true method in the madness, or simply a series of unsettling images and tricks.
Making of - 576p - 42:20
This takes a while to get going and is at times unnecessarily bogged down by producers and other bods turning up to say very little, but in an enthusiastic way. However, in between the fluff about how wonderful all the actors are, there are some nice segments that explain certain artistic choices which emanated from the tribulations of building a set to tight time and budgetary constraints. In truth it is probably 20 minutes worth of material stretched but there are a few titbits to be gleaned for those willing to last the duration.
Deleted scenes - 576p - 4:52
Two scenes; “Jess saves Victor”, in which Jess plays a pivotal role in the boat capsizing and “Does Sally love Greg?” which is basically filler material that is never alluded to or adds anything to the film. Quite why they are titled “Deleted scene 1” and “Deleted scene 3” I have no idea. Perhaps scene number 2 found its way back into the film or got lost at sea.
Three storyboards: “The storm”, “Jess walking through the mirror” and “The car crash”. Use of the chapter buttons flip back and forth between pages of early sketched storyboards. It is always nice to see where the ideas ended up deviating in the finished piece, but by cramming an entire double page worth of boxes on screen at once, it makes the accompanying text and even the finer points of the artwork hard to see.
Design your own Triangle poster competition
Not a BD Live farce but rather merely a picture of the competition winner's poster.
The storm featurette - 576p - 5:46
Now this is more like it. A decent, unbloated and precise explanation of the visual effects used in the making of several key sequences. It nicely explains the ingenuity behind the multiple bodies, the artistic motivations and logistics of creating elongated corridors and last but not least the gimble and CG trickery utilised for the giant storm sequence.
A mixed bag of extras, but if you can sift through the ramblings and filler material there are some interesting insights to be found. Just don't expect an explanation or even passing comments about potentially key elements from Smith in the commentary.
VerdictTriangle won't be to everyone's tastes. It seems to be falling very comfortably into that category of films that can be labelled “marmite” - either love them or hate them. I however maintain that there is a lot on offer here that isn't available elsewhere. It may not be quite as clever as those behind its production would have you believe, but there is still a lot of ingenuity woven into its fabric and Smith knows how to bring forward the visceral tone when absolutely necessary. The fact that it almost demands repeated viewings is perhaps the best compliment I can give it, as it will no doubt appeal to those viewers desperate for a riddle that isn't laid out before them with a simplistic solution.
The disc itself is strong in all the right departments. The visual and audio presentations are punching far above the weight one would assume to be possible for a film of this budget, and even the minor quibbles are outweighed heavily by the wealth of positives on show. The extras let the side down slightly, with the amount of information being a little on the sparse side and needing to wade through a healthy dose of waffle to get to it, but at least we are offered the chance to see a few of the tricks used during production. As an experience, Triangle on Blu-ray certainly has enough to offer an audience keen to witness a slick fantasy chiller. Bon voyage!
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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