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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL
The Square, Ruben Östlund, 2017

For the first two thirds of this film, it was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. And then, at some point, it just wasn't anymore.

I've seen Haneke and Von Trier bandied around as influences on the film, and the former seems more obvious than the latter, but one thing I'll say for those guys is that they know how to follow through on their premises and themes. I'm not sure this movie does that. It spends a lot of time setting up provocations that never really pay off, and the film's resolution is rather astoundingly weak. Characters enter to take provocative stances and then just kinda exit the movie without any consequence to what follows. There are some interestingly surreal moments - whole setpieces, actually - that simply evaporate and end up as little more than non-sequiturs.

And like I said, all this really seems like it's going somewhere, so it's disappointing when it doesn't. Instead of Haneke and Von Trier, the director that it called to mind for me after it was over was actually Richard Kelly, who similarly has a flair for buildup but can't help but back himself into corners. Östlund isn't as crazy with his scenario here as Kelly is with his films, of course, and as stylists they're not very similar, but that feeling of liftoff before a hard letdown was pretty much the same.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2017
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 6:07 pm
I concur a lot with that. The Square was a film where I pretty much enjoyed every individual scene but felt like it didn't add up to anything as a whole.

I walked away thinking that it should have been a TV series and not a film, actually giving arcs to the characters & plot points.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2017
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:09 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc
I managed to catch The Square last night and I am not sure what to think. Every scene or sequence was fine, but as a sum of its parts it felt a little disjointed. It had some wonderful dry humor and had a lot of fun with the world it portrays. It gets many things right regarding the stuffy art community (at least in NYC). Claes Bang gives a phenominal performance that was so similar to Marcello Mastroianni in 8 1/2. The Elizabeth Moss scene where she confronts him about their previous sex felt like an updated version of 8 1/2. Something goes very awry to start the third act (very uncomfortable scene) and the film never really recovers in my opinion. In fact, my main criticism is that the film didn't know when to end. I found the final 5-10 minutes grueling and unnecessary.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I thought it should have ended at his press conference where he announces his resignation and then is badgered for it. It felt like a full circle at that point.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
The first two thirds are one of the best things I've ever seen. There was a lot of screaming laughter at my theater, which was a great experience, and the dinner party sequence by itself could be put out there as its own blistering short film. But yeah, the last third is kind of a big nothing, particularly after the extremely satisfying double punchline of Force Majeure. When it got to the last scene I thought, "Oh, this is the ending", which is not what you want your audience to be thinking. It's like if the last third of A Clockwork Orange was about Alex taking part in the prison musical. It needed to build up either to some kind of magnificent catastrophe and/or develop an emotional catharsis, but what we're left with is some kind of wishy-washy "life doesn't have resolution" message, which feels like such a weak cop-out.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC
Brian C wrote:
For the first two thirds of this film, it was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. And then, at some point, it just wasn't anymore.

Magic Hate Ball wrote:
The first two thirds are one of the best things I've ever seen.

I forgot which contributor said this (it was one of the males) but in one of the Film Comment podcasts covering Cannes, he basically said the same thing - for the first two thirds, you thought "we have our Palme d'Or winner" (which did happen) but then things took a bad turn.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
It's amazing that it can hold so much promise for two wildly spirited hours, and then destroy it entirely within the space of twenty minutes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
This is apparently only getting a DVD release in the U.S. Pretty sad for a Palme winner.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village
Ruben Östlund has a phantom page. Maybe this...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL
It’s Magnolia, right? For a long time they’ve seemed like one of the most inept indie distributors out there. It’s like they combine the downsides of both limited indie resources with a big-studio attitude towards their product. As a result, they basically ignore anything that doesn’t have an obvious marketing hook and a lot of their stuff just seems to disappear, from the physical world anyway. I’m semi-surprised I got to see it theatrically, even here in Chicago.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
It is.


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