The Square | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated R · 142 minutes · 2017

In his previous feature Force Majeure, writer/director Ruben Östlund presented a social satire in which people genuinely wrestled with what their response to a difficult situation said about their character; his Cannes Palme d’Or-winning follow-up seems more interested in scoring cheap points at the expense of hypocritical sophisticates. In contemporary Stockholm, modern-art museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) prepares for the opening of new installation about social responsibility, while he himself deals with the aftermath of getting his pockets picked on the street. Östlund crafts several individually terrific sequences, including Christian’s awkward interactions with an American reporter (Elisabeth Moss) and a tense set piece in an apartment-building hallway illuminated by the cascade effect of motion-sensor lights. Those individual pieces just don’t add up to a truly powerful statement, however, even as Christian realizes that his attempt to recover his stolen property has had unexpected ramifications. And too few of the broad swipes at art-world types say much beyond “these weirdos, amirite?” An ambitious look at the disconnect between creative statements and real-world behavior falls flat in a movie willing to snicker at the idea that piles of gravel can be art.


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Director: Ruben Östlund
Producer: Erik Hemmendorff
Cast: Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, Terry Notary, Linda Anborg, Christopher Læssø, Annica Liljeblad, Emelie Beckius, Jan Lindwall, Sarah Giercksky, Marina Schiptjenko, John Nordling, Denise Wessman, Peter Diaz, Henric Wassberg, Lise Stephenson Engstrom, Mikael Olsson and Lilianne Mardon

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