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 an 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 action in The Square takes place in a small Australian town, a town so small that everyone knows everyone at least casually, and when a party is arranged most of the residents are invited.
Two of these residents are middle aged construction foreman Ray (David Roberts) and a hairdresser in her early 20s named Carla (Claire van der Boom – an awesome stripper name if there ever was one!). Ray and Carla are married but not to each other.
Things start going wrong early, but on a smaller scale. Ray and Carla intend to leave their respective spouses and skip town, but first they need cash. To come up with the cash they each come up with a plan, Ray cuts a side deal with a shonky contractor, and Carla's plan involves theft and just a pinch of arson.
"It's not like anyone will get hurt", she reasons. How wrong she is.
The Square is as dark as films come, everyone in the film is varying degrees of shonky otherwise they don't get any lines. No room for the honest here Mate. But this is a decidedly non-Hollywood noir, the protagonists aren't gangsters or hit men or criminal geniuses, they are tow-truck drivers, hairdressers and local slobs.
As the ever growing bodycount envelops both the innocent and the not so more and more are intertwined in an ever more complex story that should have begun and ended with Ray and Carla skipping town. Alas once the paranoia, mistrust and guilt leads to cover up, murder and betrayal no-one in The Square is destined for a happy ending.
As a viewer I kept thinking "Now how are you gonna get out of this?" and "Don't do that you dickhead", but the actions of those involved never stray into cartoon or the illogical – at least to them. It might take a leap of faith to pretend all the events in the film happen over a short time frame, but it isn't beyond the stretch of the imagination to think most of this stuff could happen.
I just hope it never happens near me.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. An effective and intricately drawn drama that will keep you guessing and involved until the very end, even once you realise there cannot possibly be a happy outcome.
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