Film Review: THE SQUARE

Director: Nash Edgerton
Writer: Joel Edgerton (original story), Matthew Dabner (screenplay)
Stars: David Edgerton, David Roberts, Anthony Hayes, Claire van der Boom
Running time: 105 minutes

This is the movie I am always waiting for and seldom find at the theater. A 2008 Australian film, finally getting released to art houses here, this is a nifty little noir film with many strengths. Directed and written by the Edgerton Brothers, it’s been compared to the Cohn Brothers’ Blood Simple. The comparison is apt, but it certainly doesn’t have the “just beneath the surface” bubbling humor Cohn Brothers’ movies usually have. There is not a humorous moment in this dark little treat.

PLOT: Ray (David Roberts) is the supervisor on a building site. He is in the midst of an affair with Carla (Claire van der Boom). Both are unhappy and eager to hit the road. Carla discovers her husband (Smithy) is hiding stolen cash. If they can steal it, they can make a new life somewhere else. The movie details their attempts to steal the money and get away.

Of course, everything goes wrong. Each poor decision leads to another one. The path to doom is inexorable and these two are in no way prepared for a life of crime. That’s where this movie’s greatest strength lies: no one is truly evil. Bad things happen because of their inexperience with criminal acts, because of chance and circumstance. In current U.S. movies, films like this are peopled with men/women who will do just about anything-they are the killing machines. This movie is about ordinary people who are just a little greedy, just a little dumb. A lot of people die in this film-some of the deaths will surprise you—but each death is plausible. Well-written-well-acted, well-directed.

Highly recommended.

Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.