A stylistically interesting comedy of manners that focuses primarily on our unconscious and absurd submission to group norms and dynamics, and the perils of both conformity and resistance. It holds the interest and sometimes asks important questions. The use of long shots and wide frames add to the unsettling viewing experience, but Östlund pulls back from the opportunity to create something truly challenging.
Östlund's familiar, acerbic style is very present here in these stories which centre around various impulsive decisions and their fallouts. Some stories are funny, many turn uncomfortable. Some are also a little underdeveloped and force the running time to seem longer that it actually is.
This is Östlund at his purest. Social realistic horror. Nobody catches the core and heart of the Swedish psychology better. The fear of conflict, social anxiety, insecurities and desperate defence of the self-image is so beautifully portrayed. The result I believe is a beautiful and human film for most but something nearing horror for a Swedish audience.
A series of vignettes of humanity (and masculinity) at its worse. The lack of coherence is not much of a problem (ask Roy Anderson), but the situations are so tame that they don't generate more than a mild annoyance from the viewer. Yes, the mundanity of the stories is part of the point, but they lack the spark of Ostlund's later films that manage to create drama, humour and meaning from the ordinary.
Director Ruben Östlund (who also co-wrote the screenplay) gives viewers another great film, this time looking at moments that see characters either standing up for themselves or being far too passive, and the consequences that stem from those stances. Great performances from all, a fine script, and solid editing/plot structure choices that really help keep the pacing just right for the material.
Dark, socially awkward comedy, as much about guilt and shame as laughter or amusement. Carefully crafted in the form of separate episodes but never becomes episodic - indeed satisfying roundedness as the scenes come full circle. Wilfully conceptual, probing, intensely awkward: all trademarks of Östlund’s teasing, provocative filmmaking.
I gave it 3 stars but after reflecting I now rate it 4+. The fly-on-the-wall ‘plus’ works fairly well. The school teacher story is good. She upbraids her colleagues whilst not aware of her own weird ‘control’ methods. As for the bus, how would the situation have developed elsewhere; driver thrown out, a passenger claims the driver’s seat and the coach proceeds! Nordic countries - world happiest?
Ostland's Haneke-with-more-humour Schick continues here, again putting characters into real, minor moral conflicts and stretching major fascination out from them. Now of the individual stories here are strong enough to make a feature, or as good as the train sequence in Code Unknown, but watching them unfurl in these long, single takes is still a perverse philosophical pleasure.
Cette oeuvre un peu bancale et vacillante, ne reste pas moins fortement bienvenue quant à sa constante causticité, teintée de dérision et d'humour noir, stigmatisant l'inconscience, la bêtise et l'irresponsabilité individuelles face à un collectif inconsistant voire délétère, de récurrentes notions reprises ultérieurement... www.cinefiches.com
Una película de pulsaciones. Ostlund narra un grupo de historias que tienen como relación la degradación humana en escala, una situación más infame y depravada que la otra. Existe un malestar en el ambiente que envuelve a estas historias, pero curiosamente antecedida por un morbo. Todo sin embargo queda como situaciones cotidianas. Como adicional, curioso cómo el director toma distancia, encuadres y perspectivas.
This goes beyond the "dysfunctional family" film, into the realm of dysfunctional society. And what makes it all the more strange, is how wrong it is, and at the same time, everyone accepts it. Which is really how our world functions, people don't all behave as they should, but we try to go on as if everything is fine. The camerawork accentuates the feeling by shooting dysfucntionally. For fans of our fuckdup world.