Thursday 13 May 2010

The Square [2008]

Though directed by stuntman turned first-time feature filmmaker Nash Edgerton, and written by his brother and bit actor turned first-time screenwriter Joel Edgerton, the Aussie film The Square is surprisingly assured debuts for both. Substituting the current trend for labyrinthine and ultra-violent plots among neo-noirs, the movie’s straightforward storyline feels something out of the blue, and pleasantly so. A modern day recreation of such classic noirs as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, the film is about how a young and ambitious housewife, wanting to add to some spice to her dull life, compels a married construction engineer, who’s having a torrid affair on the sly with her, to rob the stash of money belonging to her lowlife husband. As in nearly always the case with extra-marital couples planning to get rich quick and easy, things go horrible wrong as a chain of unfortunate coincidences lead their lives irrevocably downhill, in the process championing the gleefully nihilistic Murphy’s Law. The film, which has received exquisite treatment in terms of atmospheric photography and tight editing, is bleak and times even borderline absurdist, culminating in an ironic finale. The acting, unfortunately, isn’t very impressive, barring Claire van der Boom as the pretty femme fatale.

Director: Nash Edgerton
Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller/Post Noir
Language: English
Country: Australia


Derek Armstrong said...

Good summary. The film does nothing new, essentially, but does it well.

Sam Juliano said...

Apart from your position on the acting, which I like better than you, I'd say you've again nailed this one perfectly, Shubhajit! The use of Sydney locations (Tony d'Ambra has stated he has driven past a number of the warehouses hundreds of times during his life) gives the film a striking authenticity and the narrative slowly builds tension.
The garbled speech seems to be another authetic touch, as difficult as it may be to navigate at times. there is a gritty, noirish sensibility here that beckons back to some of the standard noir characteristics.

Shubhajit said...


Thanks. Couldn't agree with you more.

Shubhajit said...


Thanks a lot Sam. Yes, yes, I was constantly reminded of classic noirs while watching the film. The most laudable aspect of the movie is that it didn't complicate things. And by keeping them simple, its theme and mood have become far more eye-catching than they would have otherwise been. I'll be looking out for Nash Edgerton's next feature direction.