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Fantastic Fest 2017 Review: The Square

Sep 29, 2017

By Matt Kahkonen

The Square is an odd movie to review. It does so much right and has so many individual flashes of brilliance that I wanted to love it, but it never really came together to form an enjoyable and cohesive film. 

Using the pretentious modern art scene as a tool to satirize a number of societal issues plaguing the world, The Square did succeed in making me laugh out loud on multiple occcasions. The performances were also quite good, ranging from good to unforgettable. Of note in particular is Terry Notary. He only really has one scene, but it’s probably the most memorable scene in the movie and is a performance I’m not sure many actors could pull off. 

While the film criticizes larger world issues, the thing it pokes fun at the most is the whole idea of manliness and male bravado. The primary protagonist, Christian, is a curator and also basically a giant misogynistic asshole. Throughout the movie, the traits stereotypically considered “manly” get stripped from Christian one by one, in many situations leaving him looking like the fool he (and many men) tend to be. 

I’m confident that The Square is a good movie. I enjoyed too much of it not to recommend it, but it really does seem more like a series of vignettes than a complete film. I kept assuming the movie was going somewhere or that it would come to some sort of logical point or conclusion, or possibly even make some final grand statement. Unfortunately the whole thing just dragged on and ended unceremoniously, downgrading it from a great film to simply an above average abstract comedy. You may hate this movie or you may find it entertaining at times as I did. I’d recommend giving it a shot, if only to see Terry Notary’s absolutely insane performance art scene. 

Final Grade: 6/10.