Participant Media | Release Date: October 25, 2013
7.9
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Generally favorable reviews based on 26 Ratings
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4
KenRAug 19, 2019
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. At the outset, this good looking project promised to be a grand comment on the foolishness, and greed that has taken over aspects of the modern art fraternity - instead, as it progressed, it sadly became precisely what it set out to parody. This is very unfortunate as it shows us the filmmaker may not have been particularly brave enough to deliver a focused message. Cinematographer and director work well together, turning in a visually excellent movie but this is far from good enough. With a script that ultimately offers little commitment, shape or true soul – it simply becomes a series of stylish but poorly connected sequences - pretentiously shouting to the viewer “look at my savvy creativity”.

Come the half-way mark of this unnecessarily over-long, disconnected effort, it becomes painfully obvious that we, the audience, are the ones being conned. Performances are uniformly good but, as for listing several international actors as stars - this is simply dishonest marketing - call them what they are: ‘Guest Stars’. Then, we have the director/writer/co-editor indulging his fetishes by using (or is it abusing) actress Elizabeth Moss for a gratuitous sex scene that’s initiated from simplistic ‘c’ word utterances. This segment goes on to simply culminate in one (of many) plot dead-ends - tending to look rather obviously added for its sensationalistic elements, then ultimately, coming across as simply perverse. Another major sequence features a man violently ‘aping’ an Ape which goes on far too long - only to also lead to yet another dead-end (with the truly shocking end result left hanging). Many will be seduced by this low approach to ‘high-art’ (just as the awards groups seem to be) but looking at some user comments (penned by those who bought tickets and invested valuable time to see this so-called ‘parody’)...it becomes clear many observant viewers were awake to its superficial deceptions. Several mainstream critics were also honest enough to call it out for what it was. While some might rave, as many will see it as just another disappointing cop-out.
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9
Nesbitt10Jan 28, 2014
Director Jehane Noujaim delivers a riveting documentary with "The Square,"which manages to powerfully convey the chaos, complexity, and inherent dangers of a Revolutionary movement. The film boldly provides a perspective unattainable byDirector Jehane Noujaim delivers a riveting documentary with "The Square,"which manages to powerfully convey the chaos, complexity, and inherent dangers of a Revolutionary movement. The film boldly provides a perspective unattainable by journalists, and the activity recorded from 2011 to 2013 captures the passion and defiance of a movement first hand. The fight for a democratic Egypt is far from over, which is part of what makes the film so dynamic and riveting.

"The Square" is a documentary that traces the events of Egypt's Tahrir Square protests beginning in early 2011 when millions of people took to the streets to demand the removal of President/Dictator Hosni Mubarek, who held power for 30 years. However, when Mubarek is overthrown, the army steps in to temporarily take over the countries affairs, but does not follow through with their promises to its citizens.

After a free and fair election, the military fascist dictatorship is essentially replaced by a religious fascist dictatorship under President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Once again, the protesters unite and return to the Square to face a violent military oppression. It's a harrowing narrative of people twice betrayed: once by the army and again by militant Islamists who insist on a constitution based on religion instead of secularism.

Noujaim tells the story primarily through focussing on three activists, all of whom are friends. A charismatic, young artist named Ahmed Hassan, a British accented actor-turned activist Khalid Abdalla ("United 93"and "The Kite Runner"), and a family man Magdy Ashour, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who finds his loyalties to his friends tested. The film's storyline follows the revolutionaries through the euphoria of victory, followed with the uncertainties and dangers while under military rule that threatens the politics of democracy.

"The Square" documents the promise and hope of a better future at the beginning, but by the end, you are left with an overwhelming sense of opportunities lost. While a more detailed back story of political maneuvering would have provided welcome context, its implications for the future are extraordinary. The revolution is a work in progress, a rebellion against an oppressive regime, and a call to arms for true democratic ideals. Informative international media outlets are few, and international news rarely generates much interest in the US. Ever more so it's the courageous filmmakers recording history with handheld cameras that are filling the void.
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9
MasterRileyDec 20, 2016
The Square is a very interesting movie that I very much enjoyed. I loved seeing the people riot and stand up for something they so very much believe in.
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