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Triangle of Sadness explained | Money isn’t always power

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  1. I definitely thought Carl was running *from Abigail* implying that she came back to the group and started killing all of them after she killed Yaya…

    But I like your read better.

    Brilliant film.

    • Fantastic film. I kind of like that idea, it just seems to go against her motivations for offing Yaya. If she gets rid of Yaya, she keeps her kingdom. But if she gets rid of everyone, she has no kingdom. It’s possible she came back, told Carl what she did, and he’s running away or running to find Yaya. But I think that brings us back to the same symbolism/meaning. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I think Carl was running because he sensed the danger of Yaya’s trip with Abigail. Maybe this was a moment of his wisdom or intuition – just think for a second about it-why would any man allow his “wife” and his lover who know about each other to go for a walk into the jungle together? This is a recipe for a crime based on passion… Abigail’s passion as she sees the end of all the universe she created and she clings to power believing in her ability to maintain it. I think Carl was running to stop the power and jealousy struggle between the two memen…

    • Hey Ana! In regard to Carl’s willingness to let Yaya and Abigail to go off together. He was pretty submissive to Yaya while on the cruise. And then submissive to Abigail while on the island. I don’t think you’re supposed to really look at him as a man at that point. Which goes back to the first chapter where Carl himself says he doesn’t want to be in traditional gender roles. Carl could have been running to prevent whatever would happen, but that would be a moment of assertiveness that his character hasn’t really shown much of. But it’s definitely a reading that I think a lot of people would get on board with.

      • I just thought of something because of this comment. Since Carl has essentially been submissive to both Yaya and Abigail throughout the whole movie, perhaps the scene of him running suggests him fleeing from both of them, taking the opportunity then, since both are finally absent at that moment. Then again, he would probably be running towards his death since he seems to need both Yaya and Abigail to maintain his own status/life, but perhaps that’s the essence of the whole message as well. There’s no escape, except his inevitable downfall. Maybe he’s running for some kind of release from all those feelings, even if in the end he might or might not return to the group for survival.

  3. I dont think we are trapped, we just need to believe that the systeme is hindering us so that we wont make an effort and risk going out of our confort zone and try to build something real with others. i think the solution is to scale down our individuality and try to build a community based on basic human morality where no one have to be left behind, if our will and motives are the same nothing can stop us from cutting out inegalities and selfishness.

    • I agree! In reality, we aren’t trapped! There are options. Just that the movie has a more pessimistic view on things.

  4. Thanks for the analysis. What a great movie! But you definitely won’t enjoy it if you don’t scratch it’s surface.

    As for Carl’s running at the end, it is as ambiguous as it gets. It would, I agree, be a mistake to look at it literally. After all, based on Abigail and Yaya’s hike, the island is anything but flat, but there’s Carl, running through the dead flat jungle like an Olympic sprinter.

    So if we go with the thematic meaning, I would say he’s running away from the two people who used him on the island, because the others really didn’t. Abigail and Yaya used him, just as he is always being used in the real world. I think this was Carl’s chance to escape.

    But here’s a question. Carl the knuckle-dragger is reading Ulysses on the yacht while Yaya is preening beside him. This is when the crew member exposes his chest. Is that just a gag, or is there something to it?

    • Hey, David! Yeah, I agree. Running away from what Yaya and Abigail represent.

      I could imagine a couple explanations for Ulysses. It being satirical is definitely one. Like it could be something he wants to be seen reading rather than something he’s actually enjoying. Or, it could show Carl actually does have a more thoughtful part of him. Ulysses is a modern retelling of The Odyssey. Which does have Odysseus stranded on an island for a bit? And involves a lot of ship stuff. There is also the relationship between Bloom and Molly and how the final chapter is from Molly’s perspective and very full-on. Maybe there’s something there? But nothing immediately jumps out that I think would cause me to reorient my thinking on the movie? Good catch, though!

  5. Just gonna throw this out here, I thought of this as having another layer here on top of the great points you have made. Like to know what you think or really anyone who reads this. I haven’t found this take anywhere – but to me it makes almost too much sense once you really start thinking about it.

    The Ship = Current state of the World
    The Island = State of the World after the next main event (or after Covid maybe)
    Yaya = United States
    Carl = Canada
    The Captian = old Soviet Bloc
    Dimitry = Russia/Ukraine Capitalism
    Paula = Northern Europe
    Jarmo + Great Britan and colonialism
    Darius = Not sure, maybe Enablers of Big Pharma?
    Alicia = the inability to stand up to GroupThink (human condition)
    Abigal = European Union and other organizations that dictate Europe/US WHO, WEF IMF etc
    Therese = Germany
    Nelson = African Nations
    Shipmate that got kicked off for being shirtless: Cuba
    Abigal = China

    • Hey Max! I honestly would need like multiple re-watches to work through those comparisons and see if I agree or not haha. But I do think the movie lends itself to making assignments. Like “If the ship is the current world, then…” or “If the ship is the US, then…” So even if the filmmakers didn’t have specific embodiments in mind, the movie works as an exercise to explore such assignments.

  6. Enjoying the repartee! Couple of thoughts.

    Another meaning of Triangle of Sadness is the love triangle that arises in the island. It’s not as literal as the facial explanation, but it’s a better alternate meaning than the Bermuda Triangle, which I certainly considered as soon as I saw the cruise ship.
    Also, Carl is running with abandon, not without abandon. Don’t know if that’s a typo or not.
    Thanks for the essay!

    • Yeah, same! Definitely a typo haha. Writing some of these essays kind of erodes my brain because they’re usually done in 1-2 sittings. Will fix at some point. And the love triangle is definitely something to consider. And could probably be extrapolated to economic systems in a way that’s meaningful.

    • Love triangle was the first thing I thought of!

  7. I think the ending of Carl running is tied to the scene where the donkey was killed with a rock. The donkey was crying loudly as it was hit repeatedly, and took much longer to kill than they expected. Carl likely heard the same screams from Yaya when Abigail was killing her, and caused him to run towards their location.

  8. Just to say: Thank you, loved the film, loved the analysis.
    Seen it two months ago in France , called “Sans Filter” . Great name as well.

    • Hi Irina! Thank you for the nice comment! Haha that is a great alternative name. Is it common for French films to have different tiles like that?

  9. Hi Chris, thank you for your analysis!

    Just to ping one detail that I noticed while watching. When Carl and Yaya were having dinner with the old couple and Carl asked what their product was to which the old man replied ‘hand grenade’, where later on when the pirates threw a hand grenade where the old man’s wife picked it up and exploded.

    This kind of brings the message that anything that you put/make in this world will later on come back to you, not sure if it’s the idea of karma, but it makes so much sense to me.

    Let me know what you think.

    • Hey Vitalie! Yeah, there’s definitely a karmic aspect to that. He even says, “I think that’s one of ours” or something thereabouts. There’s also something to the idea of paying the piper. The older couple profited off of pain. They were completely removed from the damaged they caused. But the system by which someone benefits is often the system by which they fall. Similar to what you said about what you put out in the world comes back.

  10. In the comment above by Max it is already touched upon, but there is indeed another geopolitical layer. As Östlund also mentioned in interview(s), he and his wife have planned many, many details. My geopolitical reading – based on comments by others:

    The ship represents the current state of the world (also read it with the definitions of the characters).
    The Island = state of the World after the crash of the current world order

    Yaya = (Greek) woman (yaya is (old) Greek for woman)
    Carl = (Germanic) man (also research this name, very interesting find)
    Both of them together represent the current (post)modern gender roles and the struggle throughout the movie about their place is wonderful.

    British couple: Winston and Clementine (Churchill) represent UK: 1st world order. Sidenote: Winston Churchill was minister of ammunition.
    Uli and Therese represent the rich West-Germany and silenced East-Germany
    Oligarch Russian obviously not to be missed
    New tech inspired wealth in Scandinavian/Nordic: Jarmo
    Captain represents USA: intoxicated on its own and internally struggling;
    Darius represents Middle East (looks + name). He runs the show while captain/USA is absent, just like oil is running the current Western world.
    Abigail is a Biblical name that in English has the connotation “maid”: SE Asia, or more specific China.
    I would frame Paula as the UN, WEH or any other organization that makes the current economic world order stay in place (or the countries right under the big players that profit from the current status quo. E.g. NL, Canada, etc.)
    Nelson could definitely be African Nations
    Shipmate that got kicked off for being shirtless. I would claim this one as Greece during the financial crisis. Also they speak Greek in that scene.
    Still a bit lost on the Donkey: Democracy perhaps?
    Workers/Crew are the countries that provide raw materials/workers aka 3rd world countries.
    Staff: The countries right under the rich countries that profit from the spoils of the rich

    With these definitions it is possible to interpret the scenes again:

    It begins calmly, with a clear division – the money above decks, the worker below the sea line. The trouble starts when the wife of the Russian oligarch forces all the boat’s staff to take a break to swim, because she wants “everyone to be equal” (read: the Russian revolution). That shakes the boat’s system slightly, but it’s nothing compared to the ensuing storm. Due to the wild swell, the captain’s dinner gets bogged down in a parade of seasick, the lot among puking passengers (read: First and Second World War). While those passengers are still panting, Marxist Captain Thomas and capitalist oligarch Dimitri get drunk together and shout half-baked ideological quotes through the public address system (read: Cold War). Just when peace seems to return, the ship is suddenly attacked by terrorists (read: 9/11, initially created by UK).

    When the survivors end up on a deserted island, they must redefine their society. Cleaning lady Abigail turns out to be the only one who masters practical skills such as fishing and making fire and takes the reins (read: how Southeast Asia, and especially China, took over world trade). Suddenly people of all backgrounds have to rely on themselves and each other to make it (as in the successive economic crises of the recent past).

    Also possible to see the ending hence that the new world power, does not want to return to the old one. With Carl running as an analogy to escape the gender role (also referring what the cab driver said).

    Cheers, hope it makes sense!

    • Hey, Maarten! Really interesting comment. I’m torn. I’m always a little hesitant to assign such specific and detailed meaning to things. Though I haven’t listened or read any interviews so would be curious, if you have a link to one or two in particular. With that said, even with my hesitance, what you said about the Russian Revolution up through modern day…actually makes sense? It still feels like a house of cards kind of interpretation. To the point where I wouldn’t say that’s exactly what the movie is doing or what Ostlund intended. But. The details are there to start making the interpretation, disregarding whether it’s intentional or not. So that’s pretty cool. Appreciate the thoughts!

  11. Chris, did you notice that Yaya had no shoes when first shipwrecked but later on she had sandals and a robe and then shoes
    Also the Russian was sitting a chair while being shaved by the Pirate with
    soap and they had sort of shade sail type things attached to the life boat
    It seems more and more stuff was appearing
    Where did these things come from. Was it a trick in the movie?

    • Hey Tracey!

      I believe that more things eventually washed up on shore. The boat had a lot of people and a lot of luggage. So if even 5 suitcases of the 1000 come ashore, that would explain shoes/robe/etc.

  12. One point about the ending that hasn’t been discussed above is how Carl is getting cut up and bloody as he runs. This could signify the difficulty of breaking societal systems and pressures (ie, non-conformity involves judgment/derision/pain). Thoughts?

    PS Chris, I love how you reply to everyone’s comments. Nicely done!

    • Hey Matthew! Yeah, I think that tracks. There’s some sense of danger and abandon. Where if you he was just running, he’s running away. But that it hurts him…that’s another layer.

  13. Hi Matthew! Watched TOP yesterday and was perplexed until I read your brilliant analysis. I feel compelled to rewatch the film as I now have the advantage of your analysis and the sharp comments here. I’m convinced Abigail kills Yaya, securing her status with the group. As a result of this interpretation, I think Carl, running, getting injured from the branches, damaging his looks which is his only collateral in the real world, is running in a panic AWAY from Abigail. Regardless, your analysis and the comments from others have allowed me a greater understanding of what I initially found a depressing and confusing film. Thanks so much!

    • Hey! Were you talking to me (author of the article)? There was a Matthew who left a comment but this doesn’t seem to be a direct response to them. Either way, great point about Carl damaging his only real collateral. That’s an awesome catch.

      • Carl knows something is about to happen; so he’s running towards them; in fact, it’s unclear who he would be running to protect. Did you notice how they all appear to have been on that Island for a very long time; observe Dimitry’s full beard. It take at least two months to grow a beard like that and their clothes were becomming tattered; case in point, that’s a lot of nights to spend with someone in such close quarters, and you can reall y see are the two of them are together, he’s in it all the way. they have, no TV no Smart Phones…what kinds of things did they talk about? They’d tell each other personal things, intimate stuff about themselves, things they, favotrite food, sex, their family; on & on…I mean who knows. But when you’re that close to someone, you start to develope a relationship, her age and looks don’t matter to him, they have a connection now; and they now know every part of each othrs body. Go to you tube and watch the edited scenes from the movie. There’s a part where he tells Yaya he has a plan, that he and Abigal would pretend to be a couple. Yaya and Carl are fighting; she want’s to sleep on the life boat and he tells here it’s not possible but he can get her an extra blanket. Yaya says, “My boyfriend is fucking another women while I have to sleep outside on a pile of leaves”. Carl has to be carring alot of quilt and is torn between these two women. He genuinely liks Abigail now and feels badly about Yaha; what a mess. I feel bad for all three of them. Here’s what I think happens. Abigail stops short of killing Abigail and drops the stone, Yaha hears it turn and look realizing what had happened, just then Carl shows up bleeding. He goes to Abigail first because of their relationship and then checks on Yaya. When their all recued, the relationship is over between Carl and Yaha, she’s has no animosity anymore and still wants to help Abigail. I do not beleive that Carl would just walk away from Abigail. The actor, Harris Dickinson, says, “I also think that relationship is genuine to some extent, I don’t think it’s just a transactional thing. There’s weight to it”. So I think Abigail and Carl Stay a couple Yaha has moved on. but who knows, they may all become friends in the end. Abigail can’e kill anyone, she ain’t go it in her.

        • They definitely have been on the island for a bit. Your scenario of what happens is bittersweet. It’s nice that Yaya lives but it is sad still the situation they all end up in. Personally, I absolutely believe Abigail goes through with it lol.

  14. THIS is the break down I was looking for. Well done! Amazingly well written! Thank you for your insight!

    • Thanks, Kate!

  15. Asides from your interpretation of the film as a commentary on societies and economies, which I agree with, I would venture that the title “Triangle of Sadness” also alludes to the love triangle between Yaya, Carl and Abigail.
    It’s a very thoughtful movie!

    • Definitely! It’s nice additional layer to everything.

  16. I think it’s possible that Abigail came back to camp and told Carl how Yaya fell and hit her head and now is dead. He’s running towards that

    • That’s a good point; it would seem conseivable. I can see how Abagail would come back, and tell them all, that Yaha fell and is in fact dead. Maybe Carl has made a decision about both women. One scenario is, he realizes actually loves Abagail and is runnining to stop her from getting hurt by Yaya, who he thinks must be furious with Abagail relationship with Carl. But then I think no of course, but that he’s actually running to save Yaya. But what if both things were true, maybe his thoughts about both ladies are running back and forth in his mind and he does’nt know what he’s running to do. What if both ladies are still alive when he get’s there and after he explains all the cuts on his body, and say he desn’t know he wants as he has become to care for Abagail. Because society is diverse and fluid, young men are actually dateing and sleeping with older women, some much older…it’s just a fact. For some guys, it’s the womens strength/power that’s a turn on to them, plus the fact that these independent women don’t really them; well, that just excites him more. A women in her 40’s and 50’s is perfectly aligned with a young man in his early 20’s. That alone mught be anough to hold a man like Carl. But even if Yaya was murdered and then they were all rescued, Carl and Yaya relationship would be over, so why not stay with Abagail, he knows she’ll take care of him. Yaya admired the way Abagail took matters into her hand and had those big men follow orders…I loved it. So, I think Yaha got over all of it a while ago; by the way, does anyone know how long the were on the Island for? I counted him going in the lifeboat with her five times, who know how many times they; you know what and for how many days or weeks, don’t forget the old Russian guy had a really big thick beard. Abagail and Carl had sheer curtains up and I mean, you could really see that there was a genuine connection between one another. The situation is pregant with possiblities both good or both bad.

    • Yeah, if we’re talking about literal reasons he would be running, that’s definitely up there as a potential answer.

      • I watched this movie again. There were so many great scenes and stimulating situations; not to mention the complete out-of-left-field romantic cliff hanger…who knew. And they actually had a connection, Carl as absolutely going to break up with Lala for Abigail. During an interview with the actor, Harris Dickinson, he was quoted as saying, “I also think that relationship is genuine to some extent, I don’t think it’s just a transactional thing”. He says that the character, Carl, wants to explore what it means to be a man nowadays, in a modern relationship. There are some scenes that were edited out of the movie; you can see it on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikq_syWslSA.
        In one scene where, after Carl and Abigail are together in the lifeboat, Carl is out talking to Yaha it’s dark and their fighting. She’s upset when she caught him with his hand up Abigail’s; you know what, Yaha says, “How could you do that in front of every on, get away from me, just get away from me”. He leaves he comes back with a plan. Basically he wants to be with Abigail at night and they’d pretend to be a couple during the day. Yah asks,” what do I get” he offers her pretzel stick she then says “well I want to sleep on the life boat”. It heats up from there. They should have left that scene in the film. It looked like they were all on that Island for a long while; many nights for two people to become very close; yep; he wanted her, without a doubt and it happened that very first night. Something about the way his voice sounded, the next morning, when he turned and said, “see you in a bit!”, just as Yaya passed by, “good morning” she says, then he turns surprised and changes his demeanor. While he and Yaya are eating those pretzels, he looks as though he can’t wait to get back, which is the very next shot of him going into the lifeboat.

        • I agree that Carl was going to pick Abigail over Yaya!

  17. I really appreciate this analysis, as it helps me make sense of the movie, and enjoy it far more!

    I wanted to note a couple things with the scene involving hunting the donkey—1) the donkey was the first sign that this island was not deserted, since donkeys—as far as I know—don’t just simply exist on islands. They are relatively defenseless and would not likely survive without care. So when Jorma kills the poor thing and it takes a long time, he (and the rest of the group when they eat it) destroy evidence that the island is inhabited. 2) This also demonstrates what an incompetent hunter Jorma is, compared to Abigail (gender roles questioned). He even sobs afterwards, while Nelson and Dimitry sensitively comfort him.

    I enjoyed the chat between Nelson and Dimitry, while Nelson literally held a blade to Dimitry’s throat (shaving him). Dimitry is, once again, insisting that Nelson is a pirate (a largely racist assumption), but at this point, the two men are genuine friends and laugh about it. Nelson finally asks Dimitry what he would like to ask him if he WERE a pirate, and Dimitry, ever the capitalist, asks immediately, “How much money do you make?” The two men laugh, and then Dimitry starts giving Nelson business advice on how to make more money being a pirate. In a sense, Dimitry is the pirate, not Nelson, but Nelson has the blade to Dimitry’s throat. However, the two men like and respect one another now (out of circumstance), so there is no threat while they’re on this island. Also interesting that it’s possible (though doubtful) Nelson IS one of the pirates who attacked the yacht. After all, Paula never says she knows him as one of the mechanics on the yacht.

    Lastly, I like the idea that “Triangle of Sadness” has multiple meanings. The initial one, explained to Carl by the judges. The Bermuda Triangle. The three social classes represented on the yacht (the incredibly wealthy 1%, the upper class, and the lower class). The love triangle between Carl, Yaya, and Abigail. And lastly, the three opportunities to reveal to the group that they are NOT on a deserted island: 1) the donkey they brutally kill and eat, 2) the vendor with whom Therese is unable to communicate their shipwreck situation, and 3) the hauntingly empty elevator tucked inside the side of a cliff, leading to a resort that would likely lead to their rescue—information that Abigail will keep from the rest of the group after murdering Yaya and maintaining her matriarchy.

  18. I have to say, this is some great stuff, the ideas and theories are as colorful and visceral as the movie it’s self. I too, loved the interaction between Nelson and Dimitry, I don’t beleive Nelson assumed Dimitry was a pirate because he was black…and I’m a black women. I feel the Nelson is just a brilliant man, I mean, the man made a fortune out selling manure and I know you don’t get be a great poker player without being able to read people. I wish they would have shown more interaction between Yaya and the others on the Island; did they offer her sympethy and support, I mean her boyfriend is having repeated sex with an older women in a lifeboat, that they all should be able to use, just about 20 yards away, from where everyone sleeps. Do you think anybody jump on top of the lifeboat and take a peek; knowing human nature, I’d say yes, and I bet the men were first in line. If I were Yaha, I don’t know how I’d feel

  19. First of all, I think your explanation of the movie is brilliant and gave in-depth understanding.

    The movie is open for interpretation and this is what I think in some details and scenes.

    1.) DONKEY – The sound it made during their first night made the group afraid of it forcing them to run away. After sometime they decided to look for it (hunt it) only to found out that it was just an helpless dying animal. This is the same with our fear and some people in our lives that make our life miserable. We have to confront (kill) the ASS (donkey) sooner than later and it is not easy to kill the donkey but once confronted the ass will wail out to get sympathy from others. Notice the change of tone that the donkey made from the 1st night to the moment it was hit by a rock.
    Jorma is the one that killed it because he faces his fears. Just like what he did at the yacht when he first talked to the ladies. Also I think that Jorma just got rich recently because of his tech/coding skills. That is why, he seems to like the Captain’s fries and burger more than the exquisite food that was served to him during the dinner.

    2.) ELEVATOR – The elavator going UP is the only thing that separates them from civilization. This is like a WAY TO SALVATION. It was always there but they did not know since they were too busy surviving and too afraid to die. It was not easy finding it since they have to trek dangerous mountains.

    3.) Yaya and Abigail are the two opposite side of the same coin. One side being Young, well-off but naive while the other side old, poor but cunning. Yaya is from luxury and comfort that can influence people while Abigail is from poverty and despair that is taking orders from other people. Their commonality is their gender and they used Carl in their relationship with him.

    4.) Carl Running – It is not established if Carl is running away from or running to something. But it is clear that he don’t have a destination thus it was cut mid scene. This can be compared to life. If we kept on running without a clear path or destination, we end up being hurt all over. So are we running from or running to?

    • Hey D! Thank you.

      The donkey is definitely one of those things that’s open to interpretation. I agree with the general idea that there’s something to that difference between “not knowing” and “knowing”. When it’s just a sound in the night, it could be anything. When you confront it, you see it for what it is. But after that, there’s a lot of ways to take what happens. Was the donkey actually dying? Was it actually a problem? Was what Jorma did a kindness or an ugly, unnecessary thing? Isn’t the masculine rush he gets a bit empty and hollow since it was just this poor donkey that didn’t even fight back? There are ways to take it that empower what they did, as you’re saying, and ways to take it where they’re actually the bad ones.

      And the idea of salvation is interesting. That same duality with the donkey comes back here. Because Yaya definitely sees the elevator as salvation. But Abigail does not. To her, the island is salvation. She seems to think the situation she has there is better than returning to the regular world. Otherwise she wouldn’t do what she did to Yaya.

      Abigail and Yaya: duality.

      And Carl running: yes, exactly.

    • I hated the donkey scene; why could’nt they have used a different type of animal like a reptile or a wild pig. Other than that scene I loved this film

      • It makes me sad just thinking about it.

  20. Watched the movie again. There were so many great scenes and stimulating situations; not to mention the complete out-of-left-field romantic ciff hanger…who knew. And they actually had a connection, Carl as absolutely going to break up with Lala for abigail. During an interview with the actor, Harris Dickinson, he was quoted as saying, “I also think that relationship is genuine to some extent, I don’t think it’s just a transactional thing”. He says’s that the charater,Carl, wants to explore what it means to be a man nowadays, in a modern relationship. There is a are some scenes that were edited out of the movie, you can see it on uputube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikq_syWslSA.
    In one scene where, after Carl and Abigail are together in the lifeboat, Carl is out talking to Yaha it’s dark and their fighting. She’s upset when she caught him with his hand up Abigails; you know what, Yaha says, “how could you do that in front of every on, get away from me, just get away from me”. He leaves he comes back with a plan. Basically he wants to be with Abigail at night and they’d pretend to be a couple during the day. Yah asks, ” what do I get get” he offers her pretzel stick she the says “well I want to sleep on the life boat”. It heats up from there. They should have left that scene in the film. It looked like they were all on that Island for a long while; many nights for two people to become very close; yep. he wanted her, without a doubt and it happened that very first night. Something about the way his voice sounded when he turned and said, “see you in a bit!”, just as Yaya past by, “good morning” she says, then he turns surprised and changes his deneanor. While he and yaya are eating those pretzels, he looks as though he can’t wait to get back, which is the very next shot of him going into the lifeboat.

    • Yeah, I think he does kind of genuinely, in that setting, fall for Abigail. Thanks for the YouTube video and detailed comment!

  21. Late to this discussion but I loved your analysis. The beginning and the end were both mysterious to me. The casting directors in the prologue were surprised he’d been out of the industry so long and was coming to open casting so maybe the movie is a flashback? And maybe losing Yaya and any dignity on the island are what caused his triangle of sadness. Also the perfume he finds on the beach is the one he has in his portfolio in the beginning so I feel like that scene is very significant

    • Thanks! The flashback idea is an interesting one. But I don’t think there’s anything that indicates that strongly enough for us to not assume it’s linear. I’d imagine that we’d see even more gravity to Carl rather than the levity and naiveté that he seems to have. I think the time between shows more that he’s just been struggling to get jobs. Which leads to the money issues that are such a focus of the Carl and Yaya section. When Carl finds the perfume/cologne on the beach, he has that gleeful recognition. I think because it’s the brand he had worked with.

      The moment with the perfume is right before Carl starts flirting with Abigail. We see him find the cologne/perfume, get excited. Then there’s another scene with other characters. Then them all around the campfire and he’s making eyes at Abigail. So the perfume is part of him turning into this concubine role. He’s perfuming himself the way women would do for men in power.

      There’s also something to the novelty of the cologne on the island. It’s a thing of the outer world that doesn’t have meaning on the island. The same way that Yaya being a model doesn’t matter there. Or that Abigail was just a cleaner on the ship.

  22. My comments are late but I just saw the movie. I hope not too late to still hear any opinions on my thoughts about the ending. I do believe that Abigail kills Yaya. I believe this because I think that people are who they are and what they are capable of doing or not is rooted within them.. for the most part anyhow. I do believe that certain life experiences and situations can change people, especially extreme situations. However, when it comes to something as huge and morally wrong as murder, excluding cases of self defense or to protect the life of another, or the involvement of deep mental instability, this is something that I think is either within the possibility of one’s character to do or not, especially when the motive is for position and power. Abigail had shown right from the start her bitterness and resentment for having to take orders from those who she felt had power over her due to social class and money. When Paula continued in her boss position over Abigail, and ordering Abigail to hand to her items from the supply-filled lifeboat…and after such a devastating occurrence that Abigail had also just experienced, it was evident of Abigail’s almost disbelief and irritation with Paula. In such an occurrence, I would think that one would likely expect that such authority positions over another would then be defunct. One may question then why would Paula not expect her position now defunct. I would think, due to her training and experience in her position of having to be in control and responsible for both passengers and her fellow employees under her, she would naturally just resume that caretaker role in such an emergency situation. It wouldn’t be any different than if it was an aircraft that went down…likely the trained flight attendant would try to continue in her role as caretaker and giving instructions, leading the group. People tend to assume roles that they are used to, and especially if thinking of their position as a responsibility.
    But when Abigail very quickly realizes her power over the others due some of her life-sustaining abilities that the other survivors don’t have, she immediately not only takes advantage of that role of power but bitterly demands such. I believe, no matter one’s life of hardships, and even at the hands of others, and/or how badly one has been disregarded or without decent respect that should’ve been given one, they would not, especially so quickly, demand this of their fellow shipwrecked survivors, all of which having gone through a nightmare experience and fears for their lives, if such was not inherent within the person somehow.
    Abigail, from the start of their shared tragedy, revealed a side of her that proved of her ability to watch out for only herself and her needs no matter the cost to others. There are those that are able to do, and those who cannot, even when faced in dire situations. I think that Abigail had shown from early on that she was capable to separate herself from what was morally right and decent and to only put herself and her needs above all else, even when she had grown feelings for another, and capable of committing her most egregious of power-hunger by murdering Yaya. As for the last scene of Carl frantically running, I’m not as convinced of why that may be in this story, but what may be likely is that once Abigail killed Yaya, she knew that Carl could be a problem and felt she needed to kill him also to keep her power position. He may have believed that Abigail was capable of hurting her. He may have continued questioning of what story she’d give to the group of what happened to her. He may have gone searching for her and find the island. All of these possibilities may have been too much of a threat to Abigail’s power position that she apparently had quickly grown to enjoy. But another possibility could be that he went looking for them because he felt uneasy about them going off alone together, and was near enough to have heard Yaya cry out. As another had commented, in the disturbing killing of the donkey scene, it showed the donkey having to be hit over and over in the head with a rock before the donkey’s cries were ended. Perhaps was similar to Yaya and Carl heard her crying out and running to save her.

    • Correction to my post- “He may have gone searching for her and find the island”. I meant to say resort and not island.

    • Lin! Appreciate the thoughtful comment. I 100% agree about Abigail. With Carl, I’ll go back to the fact that films like this often have thematic or metaphoric reasons for why something happens. It’s not all logical/realistic. Especially when it’s the last shot of the movie. The important thing isn’t “why” he’s running, plot-wise, but why he’s running, thematically. If you’re looking for a plot-based answer, there isn’t necessarily a good one. Calling out the similarity to the donkey scene is a good starting point. That scene is there for a reason and the mirroring with the rock is done for a reason. But I imagine Abigail will be a lot better at skull-crushing than the tech guy was lol. The obvious answers would either be Carl running to help Yaya or running to escape Abigail. Personally, I don’t care about the plot reason at that point. I’m all about the thematic meaning!

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