Monday, October 23, 2017

The Square

If Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure is anything to go by, it's that one shouldn't expect anything remotely resembling normal. Its absurd dark humor proves to be a stark contrast to the work of fellow Swede Ingmar Bergman. But how does his follow-up The Square manage?

Serving as a satire on the modern art world, The Square follows museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) as he prepares for the opening of a new exhibition. But on his way to work one day, he gets robbed. In his efforts to find out who did it, aspects of his life start to crumble around him.

Similar to Force Majeure, The Square depicts masculinity as something that's deeply skewed. Here it pertains to Christian and how he's perceived by those he encounters. He's a manager, a fund-raiser, a lover, and a father; all of these roles are wrapped up in the belief that he can handle anything thrown at him. (Boy, are they wrong.)

And The Square certainly takes potshots at what's considered art. One exhibit at the museum gets partially vacuumed by a custodian by accident. Another goes horribly wrong at a dinner hosted by the museum. But man, those all pale in comparison to how the titular exhibition is promoted.

The Square could be seen as patronizing to some viewers or flat-out bizarre to others but overall it shows that satire is a subgenre that won't be going out of style anytime soon. (It seems that countries that aren't the United States -- in more ways than one -- have a better grasp on the matter.) Hopefully Östlund will continue this streak.

My Rating: ****

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