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In Triangle, at the start when Jess arrives at the boat for the "first" time, is this the start of the continuation of the ending scene.

It's known that the cruise ship and any surroundings after leaving it is in a time loop.

Though Jess remembers the ship and tells Greg, she makes no indication that she is in the time loop. So yes, the movie was meant to confuse the user but seeing that, according to the number of dead Sallys on board, the time loop occurs more than 20 times.

So the first time she entered the loop, the storm sent her into an alternate reality with the neverending timeloop? Is this what the movie was showing? I noticed there is a deadly Jess that was not really in the foreground that got shot in the head, and stabs Sally and Downey in one of the rooms. I cannot really place where she falls into the picture seeing that one of the previous Jess instances killed that Jess instead of letting her jump overboard.

So is there a separate timeline/reality?

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Just wanted to add that Triangle is one of the best time loop /suspense movies I've ever seen. Its a shame its so underrated. – System Down Dec 19 '11 at 20:12
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@System Down, I think Triangle is inspired by this Spanish movie Timecrimes (2007) which is critically acclaimed, may be that's why Triangle is underrated. If you liked this one then you'll definitely like Timecrimes too. – chaitanya89 Aug 8 '14 at 5:05
    
The part where Greg tells Jess that she feels guilty about her soon (making us beleive she feels guilty for leaving him) its a huge key that reveals how guilty she feels for killing him. – Pamela Jun 30 at 1:47

12 Answers 12

up vote 16 down vote accepted

The movie just shows us the never ending loop in which Jess is stuck seemingly forever. What actually happened that left her in this loop is never shown. Only subtle hints are given throughout the movie.

There is no starting point to the loop. That just seems so to the viewer. I would say that the instant she has the car crash with her son was the starting point. In fact, it's possible that she was an abusive mother who actually killed her son in a mad fit of rage. When she arrives to the dock for the first time, she says that her son is at 'School' as she is unable to come to terms with what she has done. The whole movie revolves around the 'never ending hell' she goes through because of her guilt. She keeps thinking that she can do something to 'save' her son. I believe that the cab driver also has a role to play. There was something suggestive in the way he says stuff like

I'm just a taxi driver

and

So, I will keep the meter running? You promise you will come back, right?

Maybe he 'represents' the devil, waiting for her to accept the truth and be free from the loop of constant suffering?

She kills the 'original evil mom Jess'. This also represents her inability to accept the truth. She later tells her son how things will be better from now on.

Another point to take into consideration is the fact that initially it seems as if the time loop is restricted to the Ship. But the scene where she discovers the dead birds in the pit, shows that she realizes that it's her whole life, for that particular day,and not just the Ship. She can't just run away from it.

Time on Jess's watch exactly matches the time on the Ship. This is not the case for anyone else. Another indication that the whole time loop is just about her.

The Jess which stabs Sally and Downey can definitely exist. The events will happen as they 'should' unless Jess does something different. Everyone else will act the same way. The scene where she is confronts 'the new Jess' with the gun but is unable to shoot, this new Jess runs away and is shown killing the 'Masked Jess'. The movie never shows what happens to her. Maybe she is the one who ends up stabbing Sally and Downey.

So, to summarize my answer, in my opinion,the movie starts out with an impression of being a strange sci-fi/time-loop movies (which it kind of is), but the part where she return to shore and thereafter indicates something more which is going on, apart from the time loop on the Ship. That's my view.

PS: Check out the story of Sisyphus.

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The only thing possible to break out from the same-things-happening time loop is the "knowledge" of the previous loop, so that she can change them. I think she loses it all while she falls asleep on the boat, waking up with champagne and all.

Every time bending movies have their inconsistencies some where. They're good for entertainment purpose only, and Triangle is one of my favorites.

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Is the Taxi Driver Death or a spirit or god or what?? He's Death, 100% as far as I'm concerned. Sally offhandedly mentions that Sisyphus is punished for breaking a promise with Death. And sure enough, here's the exchange: Taxi Driver: "I'll leave the meter running. You will come back won't you?" Jess: "Yes, I promise." She doesn't come back. – digitalbum Jan 24 '14 at 17:23

From my view point, Jess is being punished just as the Gods punished the person related to the boats name with the infinite task of moving the rock to see it fall back to its starting point. I feel that the actions taken to save her son are the cause of this punishment.

When Jess sees the car crash, the taxi driver comes along, telling her that there is no way to save her son. Jess, instead of taking this on board, is tasked with killing everyone to save her Son. Perhaps this is the instance of cheating death which results in her punishment.

On the other hand, the taxi driver may represent the fabled "ferry man" which you have to pay to get to "the other side". Jess promises this man such payment, but breaks that promise. This could also be a reason for her punishment, meaning she is stuck in a time loop as she didn't pay to reach the other side.

In addition to these points, something else strikes me as unusual about this plot. When the car crashes at the end of the film, a boy is seen as part of a matching band. He holds a drum with the same band marking/logo as the one on board the cruise ship.

Also, upon the incident of the car crash, a single copy of Jess lies on the road beside her son with another Jess watching these events. The dead mother, due to her clothing is clearly the abusive Jess. The observing Jess is obviously her before the boat, yet the Jess driving the car (that came from the boat) is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps her son dying frees her from the loop, or perhaps she lives on, escaping the scene. These actions are not explained.

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Let me add more to the answers. reference : Triangle TimeLoop or DeathLoop explained

Aeolus is the name of the liner. In mythology, Sisyphus, the son of Aeolus breaks a promise he makes to death. As a result he is punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever. Ring a bell? The 'breaking a promise' part is mentioned in the movie.

There is no pin pointing this but Jess has died and has resulted in the death of her autistic son Tommy. The events of the sun-dressed Jess suggests that she was mean to Tommy and her anger results in death. But this event of death is not really shown.

Post her dying, we see a Jess in shorts standing unharmed from the accident. A random taxi driver offers her a ride. She ask him to take her to the harbor. The taxi driver says he'll keep the meter running, Jess promises him that she'll be back. Once she enters the harbor, she breaks her promise and sets sail. The taxi can be seen as the post death ferry.

Following the breaking of the promise, Jess is made to go through a bunch of toiling events on the Liner in multiple timelines in loops. This is analogous to 'rolling an immense boulder up a hill'. Post the Liner time loop, she gets to witness the events of the morning and the death of her son over and over again - this is analogous to witnessing 'the boulder rolling back down'

Though it appears to be a time loop movie, it's not. Here's more description to the confusion that happens on the liner if you want:

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I thought it might help to explain just the mechanics of the events on board the Aeolus a bit to clear up what's happening. I am loosely following this video analysis by Peng Yang, though I think I simplified the explanation a bit.

The two key aspects of the main plot are these: First off, there are two separate groups of people arriving on the ship. I call them the left-movers and the right-movers, respectively, named after the direction in which the Aeolus is shown moving when they board:

Aeolus moving left    Aeolus moving right

Left-movers (left image, 0:21:25), right-movers (right image, 0:43:00).

I use the prefixes L- and R- henceforth to refer to the two kinds (or "chiralities") of groups. Groups of survivors keep arriving in a never-ending sequence: L, R, L, R, ...

The second key point is that at any given time, there are three versions of Jess on the ship. This immediately implies that the action falls into two distinct phases:

  • Phase A: 2 × L-Jess, 1 × R-Jess
  • Phase B: 1 × L-Jess, 2 × R-Jess

The action consists of alternating phases A, B, A, B, ...

Each phase ends with the "departure" of one Jess and the arrival of a new group of the opposite chirality:

  • Phase A ends when an L-Jess is forced overboard by the other L-Jess; a new R-group arrives.
  • Phase B ends when an R-Jess is hacked to death by the other R-Jess; a new L-group arrives.

The fact that three versions of Jess exist simultaneously means that each Jess (of each chirality) experiences interaction with her own future (or past) self, as well as interaction with a different Jess.

Now, as we track each Jess's life cycle aboard the ship, we can assign "age" labels to her: L1, L2, L3; R1, R2; R3. Age 1 is the "young" age of the fresh arrival, age 2 is the "only" age (explained presently), and age 3 is the "old" age of immanent departure. During each phase we have thus:

  • Phase A: L1-Jess, R2-Jess, L3-Jess: A young and an old L-Jess, and an only R-Jess
  • Phase B: R1-Jess, L2-Jess, R3-Jess: A young and an old R-Jess, and an only L-Jess

At the end of each phase, the 3-Jess departs (at the hands of the 1-Jess of the same chirality), and a new group of the opposite chirality boards the ship. At that point, we increment the age labels and insert the new 1-Jess from the newly arrived group. So the progression of Jesses is:

[L1, R2, L3], [R1, L2, R3], [L1, R2, L3], [R1, L2, R3], ...

Or, in a 2D picture:

Arrival      ...  L1  R1  L1  R1  ...  
                    \   \   \   \
                 \   \   \   \
             ...  R2  L2  R2  L2  ...
                    \   \   \   \
                 \   \   \   \
Departure    ...  L3  R3  L3  R3  ...

--------------- time --------------->

Phase        ...   A   B   A   B  ...

It is also worth noting that except Jess, no other character meets any other version of themselves. Everyone except Jess gets killed in their "young" phase (by 3-Jess).

By the way, there are some nice visual clues in the film (and in the poster) regarding the presence of three Jesses:

Movie poster    Three of them


There are some open questions:

I don't see evidence regarding whether the two different chiralities of Jess are related. Peng Yang suggests that the R-Jess is the continuation of the L3-Jess that falls overboard, and that the Jess that goes to the harbour boards the Aeolus with full memories as R1, whereas after the death of R3 the loop restarts with L1 waking up from the dream with no memories. I'm not sure if that view is warranted; both Jesses don't seem surprised when they spot the Aeolus for the first time, yet both Jesses also show signs of surprise at some of the events (which would be at odds with having foreknowledge of the events).

Another matter is the question how the entire "afterlife" started. I think it's clear that Jess's son's death has something to do with it, but whether she originally killed him at their home or in a car accident later isn't so clear. I like the idea that real-world Jess has blood on her dress (not paint), and that it's the boy in the bag, and it's Jess that dies in the car accident at 8:17, whereas the boy is already dead at that point.

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+1 amazingly thorough answer. the diagram really sells it for me. And as for more evidence of there being 3 Jesses... the name of the film is TRIangle :) – Shiz Z. May 8 at 0:32

I agree that we enter the loop during its Nth playthrough. However I do not think we are following the same Jess all the way through - there is a moment when the film seems to judder and jump back several frames - I think this represents several more playthroughs of the exact same moment thus we have jumped forward 2 or 3 Jess'. Remember these are not rewinds but replays starting a frame or two behind.

PS I am reading really annoying theories that there is a third killer, a masked man. This theory is based on a blooper - you can see "masked Jess" hairy arm near the cuff, i.e. the stunt man when he throws the shot gun. This same theory holds that the third masked killer disappears but it is explicitly shown that this is really masked Jess who works out unmasked-Jess' attempt to distract her by throwing a valve. Consequently she runs ahead of unmasked Jess and waits to ambush her.

It is a supernatural punishment loop of somekind for killing her son - whether tis murder or manslaughter we will never know.

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Thank you for mentioning the section where the film seems to judder and jump back several frames. I noticed that too and figured it was not an accident and must mean something, but I could not figure out what it meant. Loved this movie! – dmikester1 Jan 18 at 13:47

Not the way I remember it. The way I see it Jess is in a kind of purgatory, as the end of the movie shows her as an abusive mother. She's trapped in the time loop, but seems to be gradually changing things. Perhaps when she has righted all her wrongs she can be free?

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That reminds me of Groundhogs Day. – 5StringRyan Dec 20 '11 at 20:16

What I think is that the "good Jess" is the only surviving Jess, at both the beginning , the "exactly the same" Jess mentioned that her kid was in school , which means, her son died. Therefore, at the first part of the movie(before the storm), there are actually two Jess, one who was killed, and the one who killed. Therefore, the one who go on board at both the beginning and end was actually the same Jess. And no matter what, Jess from other dimension go onto the large ship died because of the "good Jess" (you can consider as the prime evil). But it also seems like when the loop of the "good Jess" repeated, she lost some part of the memory, what I think the moment she lost the memory was after the dream on the boat Triangle.

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jess said the whole process restarts when all them dies, just like the other jess who was wearing those black gowns told her that jess must kill her(jess) but she fell of the ship and ended at the beach where she walked back to her home(begining of the movie). there was a black cloth in the water at the beach, the same she was wearing when she fell of the ship. but because many jess`s have died she goes back again where she will become another jess but must first kill the abusive jess who was invited to the trip the day before by greg

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in order to understand i think first you need to consider that the movie has a linear story. The most important thing in this movie that you must consider in order to solve most of the puzzle is that when she arrives for the 2nd time she is not like the 1st jess and she already knows everything that is going to happen till the point that she is pushed into the sea (2nd jess is the one that already has seen the taxi driver and decided to come again to change things) in other words after jess 1 points a gun at jess 2 (the one that is aware) jess 2 runs away and starts shooting at theater and get hit by jess 1 and becomes that bloody face jess at the end and the bloody face jess is the longest jess that ever exists in this linear timeline but unfortunately she gets killed by the next 2nd jess and will never be able to use her foresight in order to change things and the loop starts.

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This is the first time I've seen Triangle so my answer may have flaws in it please correct me if I am wrong, here is my understanding of what has happened:

The abusive mother Jess was killed before the beginning of the film by a Jess that emerged from the future to protect her son from her rage. The future Jess tries to move away from the crime scene with her son but this results in the death of her son. She remembers there is a certain loop on a certain ship that can take her back to the time before her son's death. So she takes a taki to the harbour but by the time she reaches the harbour she loses her memory because of her trauma. She arrives at the harbour to meet her friends and sail with them, the boat gets flipped over by a storm , and an abandoned ship arrives on a collision course with the boat. Jess from a few hours before the amnesia is on the ship and she watches as they board. She have seen them die by a masked figure (not aware that the figure is her future self also before amnesia). She tries changing the course of events by stopping vetor from strangling her and by shooting the masked figure before he will kill her friends. But the result of this is an alternate course of actions happening concurrently with the results of the original course. The altered course alter the original events and the altered events restore the original course (Jess tries to change her past causing alternate future for Jess with the alternate Jess trying to change her past resulting in the original future of Jess). Either way, she believes that the loop repeats when everyone dies (although I believe it happens as a reaction to the time shock caused by Jess knocking her future self out / or killing her, and it is the time loop that causes this time shock), so Jess wears a mask and tries to kill everyone on board so that - as she thinks- the loop should repeat. She does kill everyone but fails to kill herself, getting knocked out or killed and falls into the sea, the Jess that falls - dead or alive- experiences both time shocks. Resulting in her returning to earlier this morning where she becomes the Jess that emerged from the future to kill the abusive mother Jess trying to protect her son.

So the abusive mother Jess is dead before the beginning of the film and never contributes in its events, and all the Jesses seen throughout the films are paradoxes without beginning or end with each one of them becoming or resulting into the other, an endless loop that she keeps trying to escape, but it is her attempts to escape that create an alternate loop which creates the original loop, all what is certain that both loops happened and that Jess is in torment, maybe its her destiny or its a punishment for nearly killing her son or whatever, and each time she gets a chance to break the loop represented by the taki driver but it is known that she will always waste it.

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I think, that the time repeats itself because Jess does not want to let go of her son. When they are sitting on their yacht, after the storm, she says that "If I do something differently, I'll loose him (her son)", and therefore she lets the story happen over and over again. Also I believe that the taxi driver is the death or maybe a saviour as it would all end -her son would die, she would die- if she stayed in the taxi. At least that's how I understood it.

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protected by Ankit Sharma Jun 30 at 8:17

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