Monday, February 20, 2012

"The Square" (2008) - Movie Review

“The Square” is the sort of film wherein right from the beginning you know that there is nothing good coming out in the end. Betrayal, lust, love, money, blood, double crossing and paranoia are some of the few topics that are touched, soaked and bedraggled in this tremendous Australian film. It is the kind of film that Coen brothers made it their own and began a trend that no one could even dare aspire of, until now. That in no way means “The Square” is a wannabe rather a truly original masterpiece by director Nash Edgerton who believed in his brother’s original story this is based upon. His brother Joel Edgerton stars in this stellar work of art as well.

Ray (David Roberts) and Carla (Claire van der Boom) are involved in a scandalous affair. Both married and are in the stage of affair where they know the place to meet, the motel to sleep around and phone calls to read. Ray is foreseeing a construction that needs to meet schedule and he deals in shady trades to accumulate money to leave and run along with Carla. Carla’s husband is Greg (Anthony Hayes), a ruthless thug who is the wrong man to mess with. You know where this is going? and no it is not a rhetorical question. It is a genuine one and you would be astonished to find the twists and turns this film takes on.

Joel Edgerton apparently wrote this and shelved it considering it to be weak in the script until his brother read and persuaded him to make a film out of it. Nash truly is a visionary director to read those words and picture this noir that spirals into destruction like no other. Ray is a common man and dangerously circles around the idea of messing with the dark side. He is convinced by a woman he is deeply in love with and has a stale marriage even we could associate with in very few scenes with his wife. Look at the way the script conveniently and confidently persuades us on this boring marriage and how effectively do we agree with it. It is the intelligence of the director and the editing Luke Doolan and director Nash that the audience are engrossed towards the plot.

The plan of course is always simple. Carla notices Greg hiding bundles of cash he apparently got through illegal means. She gets the ball rolling by stealing and arranging through Ray for another petty criminal to burn the house. Money is stolen and Greg believes it gets burnt and things are peace, calm, serene and happily ever after. How naive these two are that they are completely unaware that they are the characters in one of the deviously and devilishly plotted script of Edgerton’s. Things fall apart. How and what is up to you to see it.

“The Square” might come off as those predictable affair that survives on the shrieks and fear of blank phone calls, suspicious looks from the person they betrayed and ending contrived and unconvincing. I dare you to think that and watch this film and you will be left with awe on the circles it takes and the characters it places. Accidents begin to happen around Ray in ways no one could imagine yet utterly believable. His life destructs and deteriorates in slow motion and he seems to dig himself deeper and deeper. There is urgency, chaos and he tries to keep himself under control only to be paving way for more blood sheds.

When was the last time you saw a car chase that not alone was superbly shot but genuinely believable with a first class camera work? This time it is indeed a rhetorical question. “The Square” is blessed with the cinematography of Brad Shield who places his camera inside the car which I highly suspect to have been an inspiration to my favourite film of 2011 “Drive”. It swirls inside this closed space and circles around when it chases another or being chased by a motorcycle. It is so real that it brings chills in you just by witnessing this closeness of two iron on the road with lives inside. Every scene has an importance and every character has a part to play. The direction is immaculate placing details with a poetry of course dark. Even the dogs cannot have a peaceful meeting.

What is so beautiful about the destruction of human lives? What is attracting in the way they swindle and betray each other and are permanently damaged by those day in and day out? The film is like a maze taking us through one corner after another where we are hoping an opening but only to be amazed by the beauty of the design. And when we are at the gates of end, we cannot help but laud the greatness of a thorough film presentation without a speck of error or dirt. The chaos of human incidents, accidents and machinations sometimes how much ever evil, cruel and disgusting it would be brings a fascination in our existence and survival. “The Square” has good characters who seem good and are driven by their instincts. They commit terrible crimes and involve in unanticipated results. It is spellbinding in its construction towards the deconstruction of human condition in its abysmal randomness.

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