Starring: David Robert, Claire van der Boom, Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Nash Edgerton (debut)
Written by: Joel Edgerton (debut) and Matthew Dabner (debut)
It might sound like a familiar story if someone was to explain the basic plot points, but “The Square” is nowhere near an ordinary film. Released in Australia in 2008, this tightly-written little noir-inspired thriller from Down Under quickly proves to have been worth the wait.
Caught up in an adulterous affair, construction foreman Raymond (David Roberts) and salon employee Carla (Claire van der Boom) are presented with a chance to get out of their hapless marriages when Carla’s shady husband Smithy (Anthony Hayes) comes home one afternoon with a duffle bag filled with cash.
While he tries to keep the his criminal activity a secret by hiding the bag in the ceiling, Carla witnesses everything. Her pitch to Raymond is simple: steal the money and run off together. Hesitant at first, Raymond decides if he wants his relationship with Carla to last he will have to lay out a fool-proof plan for the robbery to work.
He hires Billy (Joel Edgerton, the director’s brother who also co-wrote the script), a seasoned criminal, to break into Carla’s home when no one is there, take the money, and burn the house down so Smithy will believe all was lost in the fire. From the start, however, things go horribly wrong.
Reminiscent of films like “A Simple Plan” and “Fargo,” director Edgerton keeps the paranoia set on high as Raymond and Carla watch their scheme fall apart piece by piece. When Smithy begins to suspect something fishy is going on and Raymond is blackmailed through anonymous letters, “The Square” starts shaping into something a lot more complex and devious.
Known in Australia as their continent’s version of the Coen brothers, the Edgerton brothers handle the film’s suspense like industry veterans. This, however, is their first after a career’s worth of short films, including a darkly funny drama called “Spider,” which actually precedes “The Square.”
Consider anything you get from the Edgertons a bonus. It’s going to be very interesting to watch them grow as feature filmmakers and really etch out their own voice and style. “The Square” is definitely an impressive debut. Through cleverly-written plotting and twists and intense performances from the entire cast, the Edgertons have easily earned our attention.