Bizarre, highly unsettling, Swedish film (mostly in that language, with a few scenes in English) - pushing it a bit at two-and-a-half hours, though worth it if you can endure that length.
Director/writer Ruben Ostlund's previous film was 'Force Majeure' (2014) towards which I was lukewarm at the time, though whenever it's mentioned (still quite regularly) it seems to be referred to in awe as a near-masterpiece. I'd like to give it a second shot to assuage my feelings of guilt at having been so half-hearted.
That earlier film was disturbing enough - and with a single coherent storyline. This one is more viscerally unsettling though without a similar clear narrative. At times it seems to be a series of episodes strung together, all involving a renowned Stockholm modern art museum curator (Claes Bang) in a series of conflict/confrontational situations with various staff of his and with members of the public.
There is also the presence of Dominic West (playing American) in just a couple of scenes, but both are unforgettable - the above still-shot being what develops into possibly the most horribly out-of-control moment in the entire film. Elisabeth Moss likewise appears in two extended scenes impinging on the main character's private life.
It's hard to say much more about the story, such as it is, because incidents, when they happen, are so strange (I was occasionally reminded of Fellini, though without his softer edge). A crucial key word in the film is the cry of 'Help!' which recurs frequently- and a key object is the mobile phone, one in particular as well as generally - including their ringtones.
My main criticism is the film's length. I think a snappier film at little more than half this one's length might have had more impact, memorable as this one yet is. And there were just too many plays on the soundtrack of the Bach-Gounod 'Ave Maria' (in instrumental arrangement) which was becoming irritatingly distracting.
On the whole, however, it was a rewarding experience. One to ponder over at leisure (it has an insistent quality) though it might have been even better still...........6.5.
2 hours ago