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|Index||39 reviews in total|
This is one of the best films that I have seen in a long time. Joel Edgerton is clearly an amazing talent as he writes and features in this highly unusual version of a somewhat common plot line. The story is full of twists and turns and really keeps you enthralled to the very end. There are high quality Australian actors in this film, who work together to produce some terrific scenes, that are realistic , dramatic and entertaining. The only disappointment was we were one of about five people in the audience. Considering it was a Saturday night and the The Square's first week at the cinemas, I felt very sad for the Edgerton brothers and also worried that if fantastic Aussie films like this one aren't drawing audiences, then what will? Australians need to get behind Australian film, particularly when it is this good.
Written by Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner, directed by Nash Edgerton
and produced by Louise Smith, The Square eloquently shows that
Australian films can embrace genre in an exciting, audience-aware way.
This is thrilling film-making at its best.
The plot revolves around a middle aged man, Ray, (David Roberts) who makes a fatal mistake when he gets involved with younger woman, Carla, (Claire van der Boom). His attempts to make it right just land him deeper and deeper into the kind of trouble he'll never be able to resolve. This searing examination of middle-aged angst and displaced desire keeps the surprises coming and the twists turning.
In a series of colourful and dynamic performances, the supporting cast including Joel Edgerton as a pyromaniac crim-for-hire, Tony Hayes as the spurned husband with a dark secret of his own and Kieran Darcy-Smith as a nasty concrete guy only add to the strength of the world.
Beautifully shot, fantastic production design and razor sharp editing. Also of note is the soundtrack - perfectly tuned to mood - this one doesn't miss a beat.
This was my highlight of the Sydney Film Festival - audiences should flock to this one.
They won't be disappointed.
A bag of money, an illicit affair, and a decision that has disastrous effects plunge our protagonist into a downward spiral with more plot twists than a corkscrew. Written by actor Joel Edgerton (with co-writer Matthew Dabney) and directed by brother Nash this enthralling thriller had the audience at its 2008 Sydney Film Festival debut on the "edgertons" of their seats.The many surprising turns in the story are made completely plausible by a superb cast lead by David Roberts and including the actor brother. And check out the parallel relationship between the lovers' dogs and its surprising denouement! A very impressive first feature from a director whose short films have been widely acclaimed. If you like the Coen brothers films then THE SQUARE is for you.
"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.
What would be a fun find on cable one night isn't worth a trip to the
theater. An expertly plotted story (with a particularly clever
blackmail subplot) suffers from uninspired casting in the male lead.
This actor embodies the film's fatal flaw: an almost total lack of
Film noir is necessarily a downer genre but think how funny Body Heat and Chinatown are with their clever protagonists (and Chandler always has you laughing). The Square, however, features morose David Roberts who should be dancing with joy from his affair with the much younger, cuter, livelier Claire van der Bloom. But he's conflicted from the get-go and the director never lets us see what drew these two together in the first place. There's little chemistry between them and a few scenes between two dogs hold more joy than anything between the impassionate human lovers. The most interesting male actor is co-writer Joel Edgerton and the story might have had more sizzle if he'd been the lead.
But the plot does indeed generate some real tension and the film is watchable. Bodies pile up unexpectedly, there's a mystery inside a mystery with the strong subplot and the ending holds real surprises. The script works but the director, through his casting and tone choices, lets it and us down.
It helps to know absolutely nothing about "The Square" before watching
it, just so that it can hit you harder. Nash Edgerton's film depicts an
affair between construction foreman Ray (David Roberts) and housewife
Carla (Claire van der Boom) which leads to disastrous events. The mud
created by the rain in some scenes is nothing compared to what is
happening as part of the plot. Many of the shots are not lit entirely,
adding to the unpleasant feeling.
Without a doubt, the movie portrays a much grittier side of Australia than we often see in movies. The land down under is often associated with Crocodile Dundee or Aboriginal culture. What "The Square" depicts is closer to what we see in Guy Ritchie's movies, except that the events here are no laughing matter. This is as gut-busting as can be, especially with what happens at the end. But don't get me wrong, it's definitely worth seeing...unless you have a weak stomach.
Also starring Joel Edgerton, Anthony Hayes, Peter Phelps and Bill Hunter.
As one of those who saw the premiere of this film at the Sydney Film
Festival, I can assure you if I was on the "edgerton" of my seat, it
was in disbelief as implausibility piled upon implausibility until the
film collapsed under their weight.
The film started well, and for a while I was happy to go along with the well-worn Noir formula of the small crime that goes wrong, and all attempts to cover it up only make things worse for the illicit lovers, and the crimes get bigger and bigger. But they also get stupider and stupider, until you just feel your intelligence is being insulted. If, as bilingizard seems to be suggesting, black humour of the order of the Coen Brothers was being attempted, then I suggest some wit (other than that involving the fate of the dogs) should have been attempted. Nor do I think David Roberts was an acceptable lead. The character was dour and unpleasant from the beginning (making it hard to care what happened to him and his paramour) and the performance added no light or shade or leavenings of humanity.
I agree it looks good, and the direction is stylish. But the plot is not just full of holes, but sinkholes that suddenly open up under the feet of the characters, and the audience.
People rip this movie for not having a "credible plot" -- I think it's
a ridiculous complaint, when that is exactly the point of the movie: it
gets so tangled up, things go so over-the-top terribly wrong, that it
becomes a black comedy. It's an intensively cruel, sadistic play on
director/writer's N. Edgerton's part, who had shown his morbid and
absurd sense of humor prior with the ingenious short feature "Spider",
and it's at the heart of this movie.
The lead character of the movie, Raymond Yale descends into noir hell: every step he takes is a misstep, and every misstep leads him into bigger and bigger mess. The Square is intense, absurd, suspenseful, and outrageously fun.
With cheap Christmas stuff coiled around most of it's Aussie edges,
"The Square" was suspenseful and fun to watch. The stupidity of the
main characters, like most film noir, set-up a nasty sequence of events
that become complicated by twisted motives and coincidental plot
developments. Our main character, Ray Yale, is as pathetic as his
mistress, Carla Smith, is desperate, and we know that they're both
going to suffer some heavy consequences for their selfishness. Still,
we hardly imagine that so much is going to go so brilliantly wrong.
The director, Nash Edgerton, must have enjoyed playing with all the production values of "The Square" as much as his brother, Joel, enjoyed writing the story upon which the screenplay evolved. I mean, really, can anyone think of a better name for a contemporary interpreter of the genre than a chap named Nash Edgerton? Not only did we get the usual dark images and sweaty brows, but Edgerton was also able to provide a shaggy dog and a baby, too! "The Square" is a film that should entertain most people who enjoy the film noir genre.
I really enjoyed this overlooked Aussie flick because it less than predictably shows you that no matter how carefully you plan something and whittle it down to it's simplest form, the universe is chaotic and the butterfly effect can put the screws to your carefully built house of card. And yes, the whole plot here is a house of cards with one lie covering up another and another until the two characters spiral downwards into a chasm of self destruction and loss of control. For our two cheating main characters, it gets a little Kafkaesque as the circle of poison and snowballing of deceit begins to collapse in on itself and destroys everyone around them. This story has been done before but I thought The Square did a good job of telling it from yet another angle.
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