The Square – Long With Interesting Scenes

Rating (3 out of 5)

Warning: This is 2 1/2 hours.

Warning: This is a Swedish film, and they switch between Swedish and English, so reading of subtitles is required

Warning: This is an artsy fartsy movie. For those who love these type of movies, add 1 to my score. For those who hate them subtract 1.

There are parts of this movie that are very engaging. The scene where he gets robbed, and the follow-up where he delivers threatening notes to everyone in a building. You were right in there, wanting to see what happened next.

The movie to me was a snippet of ideas thrown into one package. There were many different scenes and directions, it made the movie a bit confusing to a simple movie watcher like me. After I watched the movie, I was a little puzzled. I was trying to understand what I just watched. Did I miss some underlying message or symbolism? Did I not read some book that explains the philosophy he was communicating, and therefore missed the point?

I read articles and from The NY Times, LA times, Guardian, all raving about the movie. But when I read their reviews, they craved the artsy fartsy. The social commentary of the rich and the poor, blah, blah, blah. It is because of these reviews, that this movie has such a high Rotten Tomatoes score. The people who wrote these articles, are to me the very people this movie was making fun of.

My son and I have argued about Art versus Commercial. He being youthful, argues for pure Art. My counter argument, is if you include Art in a way that is Commercial, the Art and the message you craft is delivered to a broader audience. This movie is delivered to the audience of the artsy fartsy, and I think it is a shame, for within this movie were some are poignant messages.

The picture below where the main character, Christian, shows his girl this exhibit on trust made me just think a little bit about, and had this been followed more precisely by the remaining portion of the movie, I would recommend this to many more people.

As I watched the move, I noticed thatno one every stood in the square. The only square we saw that had people on it was the cheerleading squad at the end (Do Swedes really have cheerleader teams like we do in the United States?).

There were two scenes, that while interesting by themselves, to me put the movie off track. One involved the sex scene between the main character Christian and Anne (a journalist), and after they have sex they fight over the condom. While I am sure it was supposed to signify some struggle over masculinity, it added time to an already long movie. Had we left that on the floor, we could have focused on the other messages.

Then there was the the piece at the fundraising gala, where a performance actor, Oleg takes over the room, as he pretends to be a gorilla. He gets into people’s personal space, and then chases another artist out of the room. He then jumps on a table and terrorizes a woman. It wasn’t a realistic scene; 1) had he jumped on the table at a gala I was at, we would have left. 2) He was brutal on this girl, and we are supposed to believe no one does anything, until he was on the ground. Cool scene, but takes away I think from our lead character and his track, plus it was a long scene.

If those two scenes were left out, and just a little more nuance on tying a few pieces together, for me this would have been a great film. If they had focused on the robbery, recovery, the little boy (who was very similar to the the kids in Better Off Dead, “I want my $2), and the distraction all of that caused to lead him to make a bad decision on the commercial, 1) It would have had a larger impact on me personally 2) I think more people would have watched.

I believe that you can make a moving, artistic movie, with a message and have that movie being highly engaging to the general movie watcher. This movie is not that movie. It has scenes and pieces that are good, but as a whole, this is just a mediocre movie.