Comedy Drama

'The Square' TIFF 2017 Review: Satire and social commentary collide, in this pitch-black comedy

September 6, 2017Ben MK

People often say, "art imitates life." But in writer/director Ruben Östlund's The Square, the phrase takes on a whole new meaning and reaches new heights of absurdity.

Part scathing satire, part biting social commentary, and part pitch-black comedy, The Square follows Christian (Claes Bang), a museum curator who, after being robbed of his cell phone and wallet while on the way to work one morning, finds his sanity taking a turn for the worse, as a series of events — from a one-night stand with a journalist (Elisabeth Moss), to the decision to threaten violence against the thieves, to a museum promotional campaign that goes viral for all the wrong reasons — culminates in the undoing of his perfectly curated lifestyle.

A followup to Östlund's critically acclaimed Force Majeure, The Square hilariously skewers the pretentiousness of the postmodern art world while leveling a devastating critique of society's attitudes towards some of its most vulnerable members, with results that will leave viewers not only amused, but also on the edge of their seats.

The Square is receiving its North American premiere as part of TIFF 2017's Special Presentations programme. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 25 min.

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