The Square

The Square is an Australian thriller written by Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner. The story begins simply enough with the idea that two people Ray and Carla are involved in an extramarital affair with each other and they both wish to leave their current spouses but lack the money to do so. Carla is a bored housewife who’s husband is a petty gangster and Ray has a wife who cares little about how he feels. Both characters solution to this predicament is to gather money and run away together, unluckily the money comes to them. Carla finds some money that her husband robs a business or a person of and she decides to steal it thinking that it might solve the financial predicament holding Ray back from running away from her. Carla asks Ray to contract someone to burn her house down so her husband will believe the money went up in the blaze. Once the fire is set however is where the characters lives slowly begin to crumble and Murphy’s Law of “anything bad that can happen will” comes into play.

This film is a “do it for love” movie which is what a lot of classic film noirs were based on and its played to perfection here. Like Gun Crazy and Double Indemnity before it The Square takes the idea of doing something extreme for someone you love but the writers decide to manipulate more than a number of times throughout this film’s hour and thirty minute run time. Every action in this film has a beautifully devastating consequence and it’s how the characters deal with those consequences that drives the story and keeps the audience interested. The scenes that speak to me most are actually all the dialogue scenes between the two lovers and any scene where the plan is close to being found out by people they associate with. I like those scenes because of the way the actors react to each other in their dialogue and how in those scenes it feels less like they are acting in a movie and more like I am slowly watching two peoples lives unravel and can’t look away or help them. The intensity this film puts on display is something comparable to each small twist revealed in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. In the case of both films, the execution of these twists is flawless.

This film is not without its glaring mistakes however. There are a few situations where you find yourself frustrated asking “why did they go back there?” “why didn’t she just come clean and tell that guy this?” In those situations I say to you that there is a reason for everything and if you watch the film your question may not be answered but you may develop your own rational as to why the characters did something you don’t approve of. Forming your own rational in the case of this movie may be better than the ones the writers give. This can be seen as both a positive and a negative because on one hand it forces you to ask more questions which is good but on the other you don’t get the answer you have desperately been seeking.

I think this Australian crime thriller is worth the time of anyone who enjoys a good mystery and I would see it again just to try and resolve my own lingering curiosities about the situations the characters put themselves in. My suggestion is that when it comes to DVD and/or Blu-ray people pick this movie up if they enjoy thrillers.

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