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The Square Movie Review: It Is Weird Wise & Frustrating!



Film: The Square

Starring: Claes Bang, Elizabeth Moss, Terry Notary

Directed by: Ruben Ostlund

Rating: * ½(one  and a half stars)

Look,  I  enjoy deviant cinema as much as any cerebral critic who goes to the movies for some serious mental manipulation.

But The Square left me aggravated and exasperated beyond the norms of cinematic exploration.  It is just not fair to weigh down a film with so many disembodied episodes that look like segments of students’  short-films at a film-appreciation class mentored  by a professor who thinks avant-garde-ism  is the  best way to place rationale  in a recline.

The Square is  an exercize in  intellectual nihilism. It aims to  show the passionate proximity between art and pretense and it slowly becomes a casualty of  the very malaise that  it sets  out to expose in the world of  high-art represented  the cloistered  stuck-up world of the museum.

A sequence showing privileged museum guests being shouted at by the host for rushing towards the  food tables jostles  for absurdity with a scholar-audience  interactive session where an  intruder suffering from  Tourette’s Syndrome keeps interrupting with profanities.

Don’t laugh.  Because the narrative seeks out the grand absurdity in  art conventions , and then invites us to not bejudgemental  about the  grand design that destiny often scoops up into our lives  in  unexpected ways.

But this film tries your  patience.There is no way one can allow  the disembodied  images  of  arthouse artifice to merge with the museum curator Christian’s  after-hours adventures which  includes a tumble in the hay with an American journalist(while a  baby ape sits patiently  in the  next room) who first pulls him up during an  interview for making pretentious comments on the  nature of Art and mankind’s struggle to yoke works of art with  the rhythms of daily existence. The journalist then rebukes Christian for forgetting  her name the morning after the feisty love-making .Her preposterous bullying is  no  different what this Swedish film’s director expects  from us the audience.

The American journalist’s  love-making sequence with Christiano has a twisted ironic subtext(as does nearly every sequence in this  haphazardly  written dialectic on the polemic  of artistic pretension) when she wants  to preserve the condom with Christian’s semen after their lovemaking.

What  does she want do with it? I  have no clue. This  is a work of arrested art  and rapid  promotional developments, that had me wondering about its raison d’etre  most  of  the way.Why did director Ruben Ostlundsquander so  much precious time on creating a world so devoid of  continuity and  flow?It’s like watching  a free-flowing trapeze artiste who has forgotten to  buffer his fall  on the ground.

 By  the time Teri Notary(filled with bestial hormonal anxiety)  arrives at an elitist sit-down  dinner playing the human ape to  create  havoc  among the guests, I was done  with  looking for a centre to the plot.

 There is none.Unless you would  like  to see a central stream in the theme  of  creating chaos  in the universe of the creative, and looking for artifice in  art and then  satirizing  it with a savagery that  is at once brutal startling and ridiculous.

“Creating chaos” is a  major theme  in The Square. Christian does so by  sending  personal threatening letters to people whom  he suspects  of stealing  his cellphone and wallet. Eventually the payoff catches up with him in ways that are as aggressively circumvent  as a  rollercoaster  ride that derails  midway .

 Yes, The Square is a film brimmimg with provocative ideas and audacious images. But  they all add up finally to creating a  cosmos that is as loosely constructed as an interstellar missile poised for takeoff into a galaxy that doesn’t really exist outside the creator’s head.

 You are very likely to come away from this experience embittered and swearing to stay away  from everything Swedish except the music of ABBA all  your life.

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