Triangle (2009)

OCTOBER 24, 2009

GENRE: PSYCHOLOGICAL (?), SUPERNATURAL (?), THRILLER
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (SCREAMFEST)

When Stir Of Echoes came out in the fall of 1999, lots of really stupid people declared it a ripoff of The Sixth Sense, idiotically assuming that a film could be written, shot, edited, and released in a span of about 7 weeks in order to have a response/cash in on a similarly themed film. Unfortunately, Triangle won’t have that timeframe on its side, as it is incredibly similar to Timecrimes, which was released about a year ago. Director Chris Smith announced it as his next film way back in early 2007 (before Timecrimes had debuted anywhere), but again, people are idiots, so I don’t envy him when it comes time to sell the film to an audience.

The gimmick is exactly the same though, right down to the fact that the “killer” is disguised via a wrapped cloth around his head. But unlike Timecrimes' sci-fi based time travel machine, there is nothing here to explain why Melissa George finds herself in a time loop (the “Triangle” of the title does not refer to Bermuda) that results in a 2nd act revelation that the person she has been attacked by is none other than herself from a previous timeframe.

Instead it’s more like Groundhog Day, where she has to keep repeating the sequence until she gets it right. But, in the film’s best invention, she is not going back in time per se, but instead everything is sort of regenerating. So as she tries again and again to escape the loop, she discovers evidence of previous attempts; bodies of seagulls pile up, a floor is littered with crumpled papers, all of which contain the same hand-written note, etc. Sort of like when you respawn on Halo and see your old corpse still lying on the ground near the rockets you died trying to obtain. These little “oh SHIT” moments are the highlight of the film, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much more fun I’d be having had I not seen a film with the same central gimmick.

It’s certainly a step below Timecrimes in the protagonist department. While I love to look at Melissa George, she’s simply not given a very compelling character to play here, and I got tired of her failed attempts to intercept the other people on the boat before her double did Why she can’t just approach one of her selves and explain what’s going on (there is certainly enough evidence thanks to the body piles) is never addressed, to the movie’s detriment.

It also doesn’t use its supporting cast enough. Again, I’m not complaining about having to look at George the entire time, but the others are dispatched too quickly time and time again; each of them get a single scene to play against George, but are otherwise sidelined throughout the process. One guy in particular all but completely disappears, which I guess is Smith’s way of making HIS dedicated scene all the more meaningful when it comes up (near the film’s end), but actually has the opposite effect, as his lack of involvement in the proceedings made the character feel less significant than he was designed to.

Still, it’s an engaging premise, and a well-shot film to boot. The final twist (well, 2nd to final, the actual final one is a bit of a groaner) that sort of explains why she is in this predicament is not only interesting but somewhat daring, and given the rather poor history of horror movies set on boats, the fact that it’s pretty good is somewhat of a major achievement on its own. But even knowing that it was not a ripoff left me feeling a bit cold on the proceedings (and in turn, those who see this before Timecrimes will likely find THAT film to be a bit underwhelming), so ignorant audiences are likely to find little to enjoy here. And if nothing else, the film proves that Smith (who wrote the script, as he did for Creep) is a better director than a writer, as he now has three films and the one that is by far the best (Severance) is the only one he didn’t write alone. Trust in others, mate.

What say you?

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

35 comments:

  1. I agree, people are idiots, and assume everything. Take The Burning, to this day people think it's a rip-off of Friday the 13th, when actually the Weinstein's had a finished script a year before Friday the 13th was even released. It was the financial success of Friday that got The Burning off the ground. Sometimes scripts float around Hollywood for years, and just cause sometime is released second doesn't mean it's a rip-off.

    FYI: I like Smith and love George, so I'm looking forward to this one.

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  2. I thought this movie was great. Timecrims had a good premise, but overall the film seemed to be held back and never really "went there". I've seen Timecrimes twice now, and it just gets worse. THIS, however, is very entertaining and much more likeable. Highly recommended!

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  3. this film was a total waste of time she was just going round in circles, i mean wtf??

    what was the point

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  4. ***SPOILERS****

    I'm guessing that her memory is wiped when she fall's asleep on the boat - otherwise the whole thing makes no sense - she encounters lots of stuff she hasn't done yet (the number of bodies / lockets / seagulls / crumpled notes / the fistfight between 2 of her unmasked selves...) yet on her arrival on the ship, she has no clue what is happening (It takes her a couple of 'loops' to figure out she has to kill everyone.

    Other than that point not being to clear, I kinda liked it - almost twighlight-zone-esq

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  5. interesting film, would have liked some closing ending though. i felt trapped it the loops, and her not finding a way out. still no clue as to how this entire time frame keeps repeating itself.

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  6. Bored to tears. Too bad because I was looking forward to it. Not that it wasn't well shot because it was but it didn't do much for me. And I just don't see all the Melissa George love out there. I really don't. She bugged me in this one...

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  7. i didnt get it at all!! i mean i know she goes back in time and this is happinig for a long time! explains the body and the bodies the lockets and the segulls!! i wasted my time on this movie!!!

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  8. has'nt anybody considered the notion of a protagonist stuck in hell, trying endlessly for redemption....?

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    Replies
    1. What Dreams May Come comes close to it.

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  9. thats a point worth cosidering

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  10. stupid movie period!!

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  11. Since I am a spiritual person, My ending thought was that she was stuck in "hell"... after the accident, she died and went to "hell" because it's been said that in hell a soul re-lives the pain of their death for eternity... it was a pretty good movie, different, it mixed my emotions from confused to suspensful to annoyed but I enjoyed it overall.

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  12. I've never seen (or even heard of) "Timecrimes", so I have no idea what it's like or if it's better/worse than "Triangle", but I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! I'm not sure where all the hate comes from in the previous comments, but this movie had me on the edge of my seat and kept me guessing the entire time, and that's no easy task! I've seen A LOT of horror/sci-fi movies, so it takes something special to surprise and amuse me, and "Triangle" did!

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  13. SPOILERS******************

    ok thiese are my thoughts about what the movie is...
    ok im gonna skip to the middle. sort of, in the movie where they are walking in the halls and Downey and Victor see the plaque or whatever that has the story of Aeolus on it and Sally tells them how she studied it awhile back and it was about how aeolus' son or himself made a promise to Death that he didn't keep so he was doomed to have to roll a heavy boulder up a steep hill only to watch it roll back down to start all over again. Well, you know how close to or practically at the end of the movie she survives the crash and is seeing her son and self on the ground and this stranger, a cab driver, walks up and says something like, "They really shouldn't bother with him (meaning her son) he doesn't have a chance", how would somebody just off the street know that and by saying it with so much confidence almost as if he really DID know. Then he offers her a ride and she says take me to the harbor. When he gets there with her he says "I'll leave the meter running. Are you coming back?" That's when she says " Yes, I promise" She gets out of the car goes to the harbor and leaves thus the start of the movie..... She didn't come back for him. Then I got to thinking about the guy rolling the ball up the hill for eternity, how he made a PROMISE to Death and didn't keep it and how she told the cab driver (who so surely knew her son wouldn't make it) that she would COME BACK "I promise"....... helloooooooo the cab driver was death, she promised him she'd come back and didn't so he doomed her to "come back" (do the whole home-boat-ship-shore-home cycle) for an eternity just like that dude. So she goes through all that just to forget yet again to just NOT say I PROMISE... yay!!!! I figured it out!! :)

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  14. Thank you Cristina! I got the whole boulder/mythology thing, but totally missed the idea of the cab driver being death and her breaking her promise...this helps tie the whole movie together for me.

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  15. I thought this movie was fantastic. You don't need to have EVERY thing explained to you, like why it is repeating. That's the problem with people, they want everything explained to them. For example, the Mist explains why the mist is there, and it felt weak. If this movie would have explained the ending, it would have been a cop out totally.

    But the script in this movie is fantastic. That is the best part about it. The twists are amazing, it kept me at the edge of my seat, and I never knew where it was going even though I always guess endings of movies. Sure, the characters were not super deep, but the script is so well written and the ending makes complete sense.

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  16. SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!!

    I think Cristina's post is right on the money - the cab driver as death is brilliant. But, she DOES keep her promise (she comes back), so I think it might be a slight twist on the classic Sisyphus story - in this version, Death is not punishing anyone; instead, a tragically sympathetic 'deal' is struck between Jess/Sisyphus and The Driver/Death. The deal is that she will voluntarily submit to going through it all over again, and the payoff is that one moment with Tommy that we see at the very opening of the movie. That moment is the top of the hill (so to speak) for Jess-as-Sisyphus. In order for it work, of course, she has to forget everything, and I think that starts to happen as soon as she 'makes the deal' by asking The Driver to take her to the harbor, thus knowingly starting it all over again (she sleeps in the back of the cab, on the way to the harbor, and when she wakes, she is groggy and disoriented - her memories are fading away). When they are all on the yacht (before the storm): Greg asks Jess about her son, and she says, "Every day is the same; Tommy likes things to be a certain way. If I do one thing differently, I lose him." That last line is, on the surface, about Tommy's autism; but, it may also be a richly ironic statement that summarizes the whole movie, i.e., she is Sisyphus, but in this version of the tale, Sisyphus/Jess voluntarily chooses to keep the loop going, so that she can have that one moment (in the very opening scene) with Tommy, so she won't "lose him." She can't bring him back (as The Driver points out), but it's the next best thing (in a twisted and desperate kind of way). The moment she asks The Driver to take her to the harbor is, I think, the only point at which she clearly understands the full scope of what's happening, and it's then that she freely chooses to start the loop in motion again, NOT so she can change anything or find a way out, but b/c it's the only way to 'bring Tommy back' - if only for a moment. The 'offer' for this deal happens when the driver says "no point trying to save the boy, there's nothing anyone can do that's gonna bring him back" and then "Can I give you a ride?" That's the offer, and until that moment she has been trying to escape the cycle, but at that moment she realizes there IS something she can do to 'bring him back' and that is to actually USE the loop to her advantage (in a manner of speaking), as a way of getting at least a moment with Tommy again. So, she says, very resolutely and knowingly, "Yes. Take me to the harbor" starting it all in motion again, i.e., she accepts the offer. The Driver's sad/symapthetic demeanor (esp. when he says he'll leave the meter running) fits with this interpretation. Weather this totally works or not, I like this version of it, b/c it makes the story intensely sad and touching at the same time. So... Enjoy! hehe. It's a great movie either way. :)

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  17. Christina and Anon are spot on, it's really not that hard to figure out what is going on, the story about Aeolus and Sisyphus and the subtle clues that follow after it's told are the dead giveaway. I guess it makes more sense if you know anything about Greek Mythology. All in all it was a good movie, especially with the budget and where they made it, although the obvious flaws were the Australian backdrops but if you weren't really paying any attention to that, it wouldn't have mattered.
    Bottom line is Melissa George's character Jess is symbolic of Sisyphus.
    To make it a little easier to understand, visit and read these links.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolus

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  18. I don't know if it's because I didn't watch the movie 'Timecrimes', but I enjoyed this movie very much.

    *Spoilers*

    Everytime I watch a time-loop movie I imagine 'If I was in that situation and knew that I was in a time-loop, I'd do something really strange to break the pattern'. And this movie was just about that.
    The character(Jess) notices that she's trapped in a time-loop so she starts doing things she never did in the past. And I enjoyed following her at her point of view. I was excited when she smiled saying "This didn't happen before did you see?" or when she mumbled "Did you see? I changed the pattern". It felt like me doing an experiment I was always thinking of. :D
    She couldn't excape from her 'fate' because there were much more Jesses that hold the pattern together(more correctly, making Jess follow the pattern by making her think she isn't), but it was good to see a movie that tried out what I was always wondering.

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  19. Wow, what a mind-bogglingly dumb movie. Te whole thing fell apart as soon as it looped the first time, and she did not immediately approach the others coming aboard. There is just no excuse for such a major failure in the script. And when failures similar to those pile up, with the charachters turning out to be the usual stereotypes of horror dimwits, where the only horror is watching how the whole story only holds together by the dumbness of its characters, you know that it says a lot about the mental capacity of whoever wrote this catastrophe.

    If that stupidity/inconsistence did non put you off, then I'm put off by your own stupidity.

    I could only sit there, screaming at the screen "You fucking retards! What the fuck are you doing??", instead of doing it to the faces of whoever wrote this shitpile.

    I *hate* dumb people! Sometimes it's like watchin monkeys throwing feces at each other.

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  20. Hey BC,

    Watching TRIANGLE on BluRay now. Just dropped by / Googled to see if you'd seen it yet. I agree - nice engaging sleeper most folks probably missed. Some inventive stuff, looks great, some nice suspense. I agree with your review so far (2/3rds of the way through the film as I type, appreciate the spoiler free yet specific way you review). My only negative I would add to your list would be that some of the violence lacked punch for some reason. I'm not a gore whore, and there's enough of that here, but the gun shots and some of the grappling feel distant or removed somehow.

    And I'm getting a a bit tired of two characters arguing and one of them gets pushed against a wall to be accidentally impaled by some spikey protuberance. AS often as this happens in movies it would be high on the leading causes of death lists, somewhere right after automobile accidents and gunshots. Particularly irksome when it's a pivotal bit of violence - i.e., first step in a character's arc to becoming necessarily more violent.

    Sally's death though - the red head - is particularly fantastic (not really a spoiler since it's horror and time loopy) and a great use of the repeated artifacts found as the events repeat. Great and original image there.

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  21. I think the plot of the movie is good, but the execution is bad.

    I thank Cristina and Anonymous (SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!!) for their explanation.
    That is a good part of the plot - definitely. But there are holes in execution of the plot.

    The biggest flaw I find with the plot is the duplication of characters is not consistent. For example, we see that Sally's bodies are piled up, and so are the birds' bodies. But why are Downey's bodies, Victor's and Greg's bodies not piled up time after time? Why are there not a LOT of bloodstains in the theater where there are so many killings happening?

    These aspects confused me - so I could never relate the Aeolus and the cab driver's story together.

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  22. SPOILERS

    Jess the protagonist is a complex character. Well I saw her as that.From what I saw she starts on a downward spiral from the moment the movie begins. It is unknown if she truly died in the storm, or died on the ship.Or even somehow died in that crash BEFORE she got on the ship with her friends.The red head obviously does not like Jess, and you can consider it as a possible lingering effect of all the repeating.
    The thought of that sends chills through me. Now, there are more then one "jess" and it seems like she forgets what happens to her.I say seems like because quite frankly I am not sure. I counted the first one, which is the one we stick with,lets call her number One. There is number two, which is number One at a later date, so we call her two.Then there is number THREE, and the reason why I put Three like that is because of HER differences.
    We never get to see how Jess becomes number Three actually and it throws me for a loop.Through this movie we watch as Jess breaks down and actually actively does'what she has to do'in order to start it all over again. It is unknown how many times this happens but we realize quickly that it has to be MANY MANY times.
    No one on here seems to remember Three but SHE is the one that stabs the redhead and the other guy to death. Leading us to see a massive die off of other redheads that have had that happen to them before.It is possible that Three is a Jess that never left the Aeolus. Or maybe the one that goes back. BUT this Jess is the Jess that interposes Two for a few moments which throws us off as One becomes Two. Confusing right? I'll have to watch this movie several times to get it completely right so Three has a cut on her face. One NEVER gets a cut on her face and I thought Two was three for awhile thinking that when Two falls into the water where One swings that axe at her that she got that cut. But I was wrong, I remember what Three tells the redhead as she asks her "what is wrong."And Three answers:"Long F***ing story." which boggles me still.
    Though I am proud to say that I knew the cab driver was death the moment he came onto screen, and then when everything began to repeat I began to think. Death telling her he is leaving the meter running is telling us that he is waiting for her to STOP.He is waiting for her to actually come back to him and stop the entire process. Three is the strangest thing about this movie and quite frankly it might take me days to put together WHO she is. I mean like is it a Jess that stayed on the boat?Or is it a Jess that went through the loop before?
    OR is this the FIRST Jess? And All the other Jess's are the repeats of THIS one? You see? Too many questions that need to be answered. For the most part the plot holes are MINOR compared to that one. Really thinking of Three just leaves me confused. Because we do NOT get hints as far as I know about WHO she is.
    Now as for cleaning up bodies? Well that is a BIG F***ING SHIP, there are THOUSANDS of places to hid the bodies. I do mean thousands and plus, she could easily tip the over board and get the same results. For the redhead her stabbing death leads her to drag herself away and number Three Jess knows she dies possibly, because she could be the FIRST Jess. So she knows that it is safe to leave the woman to drag herself to that point and die of blood loss. Plus Three guided them THERE and we are NOT shown blood stains there, but just because there are none shown does not mean there are none there. Considering the repeats it could be that the blood goes in the same place EVERY time. Maybe. That D*** number Three Jess throws the loop out once you add her in. Also that "mean" Jess as well, is THAT number Three? I've watched the beginning and it is still unclear if that is the 'real' Jess.But really someone help me with the that third Jess please?

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  23. Number Three Jess has got the same cut down her face as the dead Jess did in the car accident (at the end of the movie). Has anyone else noticed this? Creepy.. (though I dont know what it means)

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  24. I can't understand why u decide to call people stupid or ignorant just because some individuals have a different point of view than yours. That's a cheap trick to try people to agree with you. It's like bulling. Well changing to the movie review the movie is ambitious but not well developed. Meaning you need to Have outsource explanation to understand the movie. That is probably why this movie failed to be a movie that puzzles and intrigues as well as monetary success and not because of the timing of the release.

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  25. I'm surprised to see long long paragraphs written by people who haven't understood the concept at all.

    It is indeed about Bermuda triangle. And those who are asking what the point is for the actress to get into that cycle again... It's because she loves her son more than anything. And if she gets into the cycle again, she gets to see her child alive and she also always go with the intention to prevent her son from dying in the past.

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  26. Last Anonymous - if you're referring to me, it has nothing to do with people having a different "point of view" than I do. I am referring to the ignorant folks who accuse a film/filmmaker of ripping off another film just because they are similar and one happened to come out before the other. In the Sixth Sense/Stir Of Echoes case, it actually hurt the latter film, as even critics were saying it was a cheap clone of Sixth Sense. When in reality not only were the films very different (beyond the common bond of being about ghosts), but they were in production around the same time and thus it's just a fact (not a "point of view") that neither film was copying the other. So yes, it's fair to call the people that made those accusations ignorant. I openly encourage opposing views on the films themselves; I wholeheartedly despise people saying stupid shit.

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  27. Seems to me there is no begining to the loop. Right off the bat in the begining she is hugging her son talkin about nitemares. Well thats cause he just saw Mommy killing Mommy. So the Loop was already in place when the movie started.

    Unless the movie is supposed to start wirh her hitting the bird throwing it over the ledge then wrecking but if that were true why was she not wearing the dress when she boarded??

    Good movie though have to go out and buy that one see if I can pick out all 3 Jess's.

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  28. Ok, I'm going to try make this as simple as possible.. (pretty difficult though).

    Firstly, a comment on scripts - just because a script doesn't tie off all loose ends doesn't automatically make it bad - many Japanese and Korea films have this same script device but it's not as criticized there. Overall, whether you mind the ambiguity is an expectations thing.

    My take on the plot (with issues in caps)-

    Once upon a time there was a mother who was raising an autistic son and at times she was not the best mother. One day, on the way to a sailing trip she crashes the car and kills them both. They both die. Her dead self sees the bodies and is asked by death if she would like a ride (to the 'other side'). THIS DOESN'T EXPLAIN WHY SHE WOULD ASK TO GO TO THE HARBOR THE FIRST TIME. She goes to the harbor but decides to leave death to instead go on re-living in purgatory. Here the real looping starts. The part on the boat is mainly a punishment which she keeps on enduring because she is unwilling the accept that she cannot change what her life was (ie. abusive to her kid) or that the son died. This version of the plot assumes her fight is futile, she is already dead (unless of course she want's to be like Nicole Kidman in The Others and find a reality in which she doesn't relive her sons death and can just play pretend that they don't die). Also, every time she sleeps she loses some memory of her previous time in 'purgatory'.

    The key to understanding the film like this is that in the car crash scene the Jess in the Dress is the one lying on the road (not in the body bag) and the movie Jess whom we see throughout the film is standing onlooking unharmed.

    Kim

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  29. Also, Buzz, it's obvious that the loop has already began by the time the movie starts - that's why we already have multiple everythings. The plot started much earlier than when the movie starts.

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  30. thank you Cristina and a few of the anon's comments. it has given me some perspective of this film, from what i've read and my understanding is just simply this.

    Jess was intending to go out on the yacht with her son and her friends (hence when they asked where was her son when she arrived) however Jess was killed in the car crash along with her son ( i mean how could she has magically gotten out of the body bag and lie in the middle of the road).
    The onlooking Jess you could say is her ghost (nobody can see), nobody on the scene points out or queries why there are two Jess's and why is this (Ghost of Jess) Jess is unharmed from this accident.

    The cab driver being death comes along makes a comment about her son being dead and offers her a ride to the boat/harbour (purgatory).

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  31. My understanding is as follows:

    1. The crime: In normal time (before all this looping started) Jess led a very stressful and lonely life. She worked 6 days per week as a waitress and was taking care of an autistic child - which eventually led her to be abusive. Her lack of care and ignorance eventually ended up killing the child.

    2, The punishment: Death made an offer, Jess accepted and promised to return to the cab, Jess broke her promise. Jess (Sisyphus) was sentenced to eternal damnation - to which there is no way out.

    3. How it was pulled off: Jess needs to lose her memory every cycle otherwise it is not really eternal damnation - it would be more of a challenge with some hope of figuring it out and escaping. Therefore - I just accepted that the nap she has on the yacht is the time where she loses her memory - and I accept that this is part of death's spell.

    4. The big Loop and little Loops: The Jess that knocked on the door at the start of the movie is part of the big loop. She kills old Jess, kills her kid, gets on the yacht, yada yada yada she eventually returns to the house to knock on the door again.

    The first little loop start when Jess first boards the AEOLUS, and ends when everyone dies.

    The second little loop starts when everyone dies for the first time and Jess looks overboard to see the turned over yacht with Jess (Jess 3). The second loop ends when Jess is thrown overboard by the Jess in the first little loop.

    Man I need to get a life . . .

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  32. Props to some of you guys for the explanations.

    Great movie, Timecrimes was also pretty good but was easier to figure out because of the whole timemachine thingy.

    Triangle has to be about the myth of Sisyphus as it is the only lead we are given...

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  33. Crap "da crap" McCrapJuly 5, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Movie bored the shit out of me, and so do all the explanations above. If you make a movie which makes people THINK (mindtwister) then make sure everything is waterproof. This movie is not waterproof, full of things that don't make sense at all. And don't tell me I didn't get it. There is nothing to get. It's not even weird. It's pretentious crap for pseudo-philosophs and teenagers.

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