DIRECTORs: Ruben Östlund (involuntary, play, force majeure)
STARRING: claes bang, elizabeth moss, terry notary, and dominic west
REVIEWER: purdie jenkins
Disaster strikes when a curator hires a public relations team to build some hype for his renowned Swedish museum.
Centered around a modern art museum in Sweden, The Square follows the curator,
Christian, in the lead up to the opening of a new exhibition. His phone and wallet are
stolen which shakes his world, he’s also struggling to balance a journalist, a
marketing team and trying to secure more donations for the museum. This moment
in his life seems to reflect the artist’s manifesto of the new exhibition, “The Square is
a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations”.
Running at 151 minutes it’s a little bit of a long runner for just a character driven film
which can be trying, as it feels like not a lot is really happening. There are a few
moments that might leave you confused, scenes that could have gone on for a few
minutes more, and instances that just raise questions you feel need answers. There
is a lot hanging in the air, leaving it up to the audience to fill in the gaps.
The film is a satire on modern art, it takes jabs at the society that creates, sells and
purchases such art. It might be a little too on point, it tries to take down the idea of
pretentious art but becomes that which it set out to destroy. Visually it has some
pretty beautiful moments, like viewing a piece of art you have to work out whether or
not you enjoy it, or what meaning you find from it.
I feel like what The Square is trying to get at is that people are imperfect and selfish,
even if what they try to promote is equality, justice and a caring attitude; and that
your actions have consequences, a lesson that might have been learnt, but was
never really shown to the fullest extent. However, like most surreal art, when I might
see a butterfly you might see a crashing wave.
Much like going to a modern art gallery, you observe and appreciate that you are seeing something great, even if you can’t quite get your head around it.