Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Square (2008) - ActionFest Buffet: Plate #8

On the Menu: THE SQUARE (2008)
Ingredients: David Roberts, Claire van der Boom, Joel Edgerton, Anthony Hayes, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Brendan Donoghue and Lucy Bell. Directed by Nash Edgerton. Run time: 120 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: The first showing for THE SQUARE was Saturday night, but I went with VALHALLA RISING instead. But, I lucked out and it had a Sunday night showtime as well. I say "lucked out" because the Australian thriller is listed as one of the 10 best films of 2009 by Harry Knowles (Ain't It Cool News).

Raymond (Roberts) is having an affair with Carla (van der Boom). Carla wants to run away with him, and, in an effort to get the suitcases packed and car rolling, tells him of a bag of cash she found hidden by her husband above the laundry room.

Raymond isn't too sure and balks at the idea. He is heading the construction of a new resort in town, and, secretly, already has a shady kickback deal in the works. Needless to say, he's a nervous Nellie as it is.

Well, Carla takes sex off the table until Raymond goes along with her plan. Unfortunately, he has no will power.

The plan is to take the money, make it look like it's lost in a house fire and live happily ever after.

Easier said than done.

Murder, blackmail, paranoia and Murphy's law abound.
Tough to Swallow: In the closing credits, the filmmakers wished to thank anyone they may have "accidentaly forgotten." My guess is they accidentally misspelled that first word.

Something to Chew On: Theater audience = 21.

The film premiered on June 15, 2008 at the Sydney Film Festival in Australia.

This is the feature film directorial debut of Nash Edgerton, who is known more for his stuntwork (all 3 MATRIX films, the last 2 STAR WARS films, et al).

A short film, also directed by Edgerton, entitled SPIDER opened up for THE SQUARE. Edgerton plays the lead actor, Jack, who gets stabbed in the eye at the end of the film. During a scene in THE SQUARE, a character enters a hospital with a patch over his eye. The character isn't played by Edgerton, but it could only be a reference to the short.

Nash's brother, Joel, wrote the screenplay and plays Billy, the arsonist.

The film currently has a 6.7 user rating on (883 votes).

Aftertaste: It's been compared to BLOOD SIMPLE, BODY HEAT and A SIMPLE PLAN. Yeah, okay, I can see that. It's very tense and has moments of dark humor. Some moments might seem predictable, but the predictability is not that big a deal.

Murphy's law states anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. That's pretty much the gist of the movie... to the extreme.

At first, I was pulling for Raymond and Carla, but after a while it got to the point where I was hoping somehow they would be put out of their misery. They go through way too much suffering and anguish for a pair of adulterers who just want to steal some money, run off with each other and start their lives over. But, by any means, don't take that as any kind of endorsement for adultery. Their adultery is the first dumb mistake in a long line of dumb mistakes.

I found the acting to be pretty convincing. All of the characters are unlikable with the exception of the two dogs. Funnily enough, the dogs' relationship seems to tragically mirror that of the leads.

The movie is full of little twists and keeps you on the edge of your seat. For me, it was a great way to end ActionFest.

It's been out for almost two years now, and no word yet on a DVD release date. So, make a note of it and, in the meantime, rent LANTANA.


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