The Square (2008)


Men, just stop being immoral.

Raymond Yale (David Roberts) and Carla Smith (Claire Van Der Boom) have started up an affair that seems to be getting more and more serious as the sex begins to get more frequent. It gets so serious that they actually plan on leaving their previous lives, running away with a bunch of Carla’s husband’s money, and burning down her house while their at it, just to remove any further evidence whatsoever. Problem is, the plan they use to burn down the house gets screwed up and as more and more obstacles keep on getting in the way of their getaway trip, Ray and Carla both begin to wonder if they’ll ever get to leave, or even leave alive for that matter.

"I'll tell ya, I'm having such a better time just sitting here and not saying shite, then I've ever had with my wife. I think?"
“I’ll tell ya, I’m having such a better time just sitting here and not saying shite, then I’ve ever had with my wife. I think?”

With the Square, it’s easy to have fun, even if everything is so unsettling and murky. Writer/director Nash Edgerton wears his Blood Simple-influence on his sleeves in that he shows us a bunch of people we couldn’t care less about, actually develops them, and shows us just how much and how quickly their lives unravel with the drop of a hat. It’s quite fun to watch, because we never know fully well what’s going to happen next, but by the same token, we’re also incredibly depressed. These characters feel like actual, real, well drawn-out people and if they are doing some terrible things to one another, it’s still hard not to see them as humans.

Awful ones. But humans still.

But Edgerton does a solid enough job in maintaining just enough of intensity, with twists and turns you don’t always see coming, and just the right amount of actual drama that makes it feel like we’re dealing with real people here. So often movies like this love their creative and original ideas so much, they forget to actually put some heart, some substance, and some meaning into the rest, but Edgerton’s got his tracks covered here. He knows how to write interesting characters, and give us something of a reason to care, especially when we get the feeling they’ll all be toast by the end of it.

 

She just has to divorce him. Like his stare, it's so evil!!!
She just has to divorce him. Like his stare, it’s so evil!!!

Everybody in this cast does well, despite almost every which one of them playing a cold and callous character that you don’t care if they live or die by the end. That’s not just me, that’s the movie itself. David Roberts is fine as Raymond, especially once the guy begins to get a tad bit crazier and crazier for reasons I won’t say. Claire Van Der Boom was a bit of a ditz as Clara, but still did a nice enough job to where I could see why her and Ray would want to get the hell out of their respective relationships, and off to another place where they could just live, be happy, and bang as much as they wanted to. However, since this movie is all about the stupid junk that they do and that happens to them, it becomes apparently clear that we aren’t really getting a chance to see these two philanderers at their most sexual and fiery. The feelings may still be there, but they definitely aren’t jumping on top of one another like they used to. Is it even worth it in the end? You’ll be asking yourself the same question by the end of it.

Hopefully.

And yes, since this movie is directed by Nash Edgerton, it would only seem right that I would mention his brother in real life, Joel, who plays Billy, the baddie who’s asked to do the job in the first place. Edgerton is solid in this role, despite not being in it all that much, but still shows us that he has a conscience that’s more about saving lives and having the chance to rest easy on his soul, rather than killing and making money. I mean, yeah, he does that from time-to-time, but he’s not a bad guy for it. Just a normal, everyday human-being who has a job. His just so happens to be doing bad things, for even-worse people.

All in a day’s work, my friend.

Consensus: Some of the twists, the turns, and the sure-darkness of the Square may have you second-guess what it’s throwing out there on the table, but rest assured, it all adds up to a pretty lean, mean, and bleak drama that plays with conventions, as much as it does with it’s characters and their emotions.

8.5 / 10

Contemplating whether or not he should be "the good" or "the bad" hitman for today's job.
Contemplating whether or not he should be “the good” or “the bad” hitman for today’s job.

Photos Courtesy of: Apparition

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