Movie Review: The Square (2017)

Not every day I review something from my own country. In fact, it’s quite a rarity. But today I’m bringing you such a thing. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s not a circle or a triangle… it’s “The Square”.

The story follows Christian (Claes Bang), the chief art curator at a very prestigious museum in Stockholm, as he goes through some trouble both in his personal life and his professional one, all while setting up a new art exhibit called “The Square”. So now we have our movie. And it’s a weird one. I could follow it all just fine, and I mostly understood the themes throughout the movie, all presented very well and implemented in some really solid ways. However, sometimes the movie feels like it jumps around quite a bit, not always having the best flow. There were several times when it went from one scene to the next and I had a feeling of “Oh, now we jumped to this place”. I’m sure this won’t bother a lot of people, and it’s not a total deal-breaker for me, but it did bug a me a little bit. But aside from that, this is a layered, intriguing, odd, and overall entertaining plot.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, and interesting. Claes Bang plays the main character of Christian, the chief art curator of this museum. He seemingly has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but he never comes off as an asshole, as he does have some good charm and decent intentions behind his actions. And he does get some good development throughout. And Bang is great in the role. We also get some supporting performance from people like Elisabeth Moss, Christopher Læssø, Dominic West, John Nordling, Terry Notary, and many more, all doing very well in their respective parts.

What’s interesting about the music of “The Square” is that there are no pieces composed specifically for the movie, but instead they just use a couple of licensed tracks to convey various things, with “Improvisació number 1” by Bobby McFerrin being the most frequently used track. And all of them work pretty well in their respective scenes. Makes for an interesting sound for the movie.

“The Square” was written and directed by Ruben Östlund, and I think he did a great job. There’s a lot of interesting angles he gets throughout, perfectly utilizing his sets, light sources, and actors, giving the movie an intriguing visual style. The movie also has an interesting sense of humor throughout. It’s a sort of awkward and weird style of humor that isn’t as direct as most comedies, but still gets a laugh when it needs to. There also a point when the movie is kinda suspenseful, making for its best scene.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

“The Square” is a unique and interesting movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down by the plot’s jumpiness not quite working for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Square” is an 8,89/10. So while slightly flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Square” is now completed.

I hope that the invitation to the exhibition read “Be there or be square”.

Series Review: The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 1 (2017)

Shit. I thought tv was a form of escapism, not a look at how the world was, is, and will be at its most shit states.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1.

America has turned its back on human decency… oh sorry, I’m reading the news, not the show’s plot synopsis. *Gets slapped*. Okay fine, I’ll do it properly! Topical jokes aside, in the not too distant future, America has become a society where women are considered lesser creatures and then get forced into sexual slavery under high ranking commanders. Through the show we follow a young woman named June (Elisabeth Moss) as she on a day to day basis lives as a handmaid. So now we have our dystopian drama. And I must say that the plot here is incredibly compelling. We get good looks into both the show’s present time as well as flashbacks to what June’s life was like prior to everything going to shit. The drama is harrowing and disturbing, but there’s always also a sense of hope throughout, making it all a bit more watchable than if everything was just bleak and sad. That said, it’s not exactly a happy show. The plot is dramatic, compelling, well paced, and endlessly interesting.

The characters here are layered, compelling, and just overall very interesting. First up we have Elisabeth Moss as June (also known as Offred). She’s a determined a clever woman who falls in line with this horrible reality that she’s part of so she can survive. But we do also see her get some really solid character development throughout, and that’s where I’m leaving it as I don’t wanna ruin most of it for you. And Moss is fantastic in the role. Next up we have Joseph Fiennes as Fred Waterford, the commander that June slaves under. He’s quite the interesting figure, as he clearly is all in favor of this horrible world, but he also shows respect towards anyone under him. He’s a really intriguing character. And Fiennes is great in the role. Next we have Yvonne Strahovski as Serena, the wife of commander Waterford. She’s quite an ice cold bitch, but does show a more vulnerable side at times which makes her quite an interesting character. And Strahovski is great in the role. The final one I’ll go into some detail with is Nick, who’s played by Max Minghella. He’s basically a driver and such under Waterford, and becomes a bit of an ally of June’s over the show. He is quite the interesting guy. And Minghella is really good in the role. Through the show we also get supporting performances from people like Ann Dowd, Alexis Bledel, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel, Samira Wiley, Nina Kiri, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Adam Taylor who I think did a great job. His music has a very eerie feel to it, highlighting just how disturbing and fucked up this world is. But it’s also emotional, suspenseful, and overall just well composed. There’s also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout, and they all work quite well within their respective scenes.

Based on a novel by Margaret Atwood, the show was created by Bruce Miller, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And all this comes together to make one suspenseful and tightly directed show. And the cinematography by Colin Watkinson is absolutely stunning, some of the best I’ve ever seen in a tv show. What is also great about it is that none of the shots feel out of place. A lot of times pretty shots are added to a movie or show just to have a pretty shot with no actual purpose, but here all the gorgeous shots have a reason to be there.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 92/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #148 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a harrowing but also beautiful show. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1 is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1 is now completed.

I got nothing clever to put here. I used up my topical joke at the beginning.