Lovers Ray and Carla plan to burn down her house at Christmas, to run off with her husband's drug money. Ray has a side scheme going too, taking kickbacks on the love hotel project whose construction he's managing. The suburban Aussie marrieds live across a river from each other, the much older, domesticated Ray in a upper middle-class neighborhood, Carla on the wrong side of the water. The cheaters will lure their families to the same Christmas picnic celebration, to provide alibis while still being able to sneak off and chat about the arson. Carla's tow-truck owner hubby, Smithy, is a fearsome tough to cross, so will the philanderers' holiday gifts come through, or explode in their lying faces? Written by
"The Square" opens with two parked cars at a scenic overlook. In one of them, two agitated dogs observe the other vehicle where their respective owners, Ray and Carla, are engaging in some steamy extra-marital gymnastics. When Carla returns home from her tryst, she spots her rough diamond husband surreptitiously hiding a bag of cash in the ceiling of their washroom, whereupon she conceives the idea to steal the money and run off with her paramour to begin a new life together. Construction site manager Ray declines to go along with her scheme at first, anticipating a boatload of trouble fouling up his sweet kickback scam at work, but Carla's alluring charms soon prove too strong a temptation. The lovers hire themselves a dubious partner, lash together a leaky plan and set it in motion, only to meet with a firestorm of foul-ups, suspicion and terror.
"The Square" shares many themes and motifs with "Body Heat" and "Blood Simple". The chief differences are its gritty realism and fast pacing - and it also boasts an extensive cast of support roles that provide a bewildering array of possibilities for misunderstandings and betrayal among the various conspirators, victims and bystanders as their lives spiral out of control. By the time the dust has cleared at the conclusion, one begins to wonder if the phrase 'ratcheting up the tension' might not have been coined for this film. Nash Edgerton directs his brother Joel's tight script with verve, and extracts intense and believable performances from his actors. It all adds up to an impressive modern Indie film noir.
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