The Square (2008) starring David Roberts, Claire van der Boom, Peter Phelps, Bill Hunter, Lucy Bell, Anthony Hayes, Damon Herriman, Brendan Donoghue, Joel Edgerton, Hanna Mangan Lawrence directed by Nash Edgerton Movie Review

The Square (2008)   4/54/54/54/54/5

David Roberts as Raymond Yale in The Square (2008)

The Square Goes Round and Round

An affair, arson, a bag full of money, blackmail and a series of desperate choices as things get out of hand. If that sounds like I could be describing a Coen movie you would be wrong because this is the basis of "The Square" a dark Australian thriller by writer and actor Joel Edgerton, directed by his brother Nash Edgerton. Saying that there is something very Coen like about "The Square" from the dark perspective, the series of events which spiral out of control as well as violent twists. But it is an Australian movie and another one which is on par with what Hollywood can offer.

At its heart "The Square" is about Raymond Yale (David Roberts) who is having an affair with Carla (Claire van der Boom) who lives with her partner on the opposite side of the river. It is that affair which leads to him paying someone to torch Carla's home because Carla has discovered a bag of dirty money belonging to her partner Greg (Anthony Hayes) and desperate to start a new live with Raymond forces him into doing something so they can steal the money. But that choice leads to a series of disasters as a person is killed, Raymond who takes kick backs at work starts getting blackmailed, someone spots him with Carla and he believes that who ever it is who spotted them is the one demanding money.

Claire van der Boom as Carla Smith in The Square (2008)

What this really boils down to is that things getting very uncomfortable for Raymond, he has to deal with the arsonist and also trying to work out who is blackmailing him whilst also dealing with his suspicious wife. And things keep spiralling out of control as he tries to discover who it is who is blackmailing because it isn't who he thought him whilst Carla has to deal with Greg who discovers that the money was taken before the house was torched.

Now in a way that doesn't sound that brilliant, this sort of web of trouble where one choice forces another and things spiral out of control has been done before. But it is full of atmosphere, we don't know who it is blackmailing Raymond and are following his attempts to discover who it is with baited breath. And if that wasn't enough we get some stunning twists which are darkly funny when it comes to the end. In fact even if you watch "The Square" and think it is Coen like it is worth getting to the end for the twists because they are magnificent, making you laugh when things become clear.

If there is one flaw to "The Square" is that whilst we have the central characters all of which are well acted especially David Roberts who is brilliant as Raymond there are too many minor roles. What I mean is that there are too many characters who end up being involved, mechanics, friends, foremen, contractors, wives and so on all lead to too many possibilities and too many characters who end up feeling weak. As such whilst the characters of Raymond, Carla and Greg are quite fleshed out those other ones which end up being important feel slim.

What this all boils down to is that "The Square" once again shows what great movies there are coming out of Australia. Darkly funny in a way only an Australian movie can be it is a movie very much in the same style as a Coen brother's movie with atmosphere, mystery, twists and violence.