Deeply uncomfortable in just the right way. The CCTV-like camera and the hyperrealistic acting and dialogue brings the cold and cruel world of teenagers where no adult can or will help vividly alive. Östlund's obsession with tense and awkward public transport altercations is fascinating.
The film is especially effective because the subjects are teenagers. I thought that the cinematography was very effective and played an important role in establishing the overall dreary and independent feel of the film. I believe that Ostlund made the film for people to interpret cultural stigmas and divides using a controversial scenario of racial and class driven juvenile crime.
Östlund loves modulating your comfort levels. Given Sweden's xenophobia, this movie – about devious, cruel little black children victimizing white children – seems clearly racist. But what Östlund keeps throwing into the mix makes it increasingly more complicated than that. Add in the unremitting stare of the detached, long takes, and the movie ends up forcing you to look at your own uncomfortable notions about race.
A nerve-wracking story of social intimidation, the interpersonal and social pressure in polite society to acquiesce rather than resist aggression, the difficulty in finding the right response to breaches of public behavior, and the power that can be effected over those who are afraid of not being nice. The coda, which plays out a circumstance where some people do feel safe http://letterboxd.com/mharbour/film/play/
as far as the whole bullying theme went, it was done terribly. this film depicts kids going on a wild goose chase to literally nowhere. i would say the camera work was well done but even that was horrible. the lingering after shots were a bore and probably would have cut this movie in half. if anything the movie makes you ask yourself why you wasted 124 minutes watching it.
The camera work reminded me a lot of that in the movies of Roy Andersson, and here too it served the purpose well. The static frames made you feel helpless and cowardly, as were all the bystanders in the movie of whom no-one interfered with the portrayed bullies and their victims. Which of course happens all the time in real life. This movies makes you ask questions about yourself, and only truly great movies do that