Friday, April 30, 2010

A tasty bit of neo-noir from Australia

One of Ray's many bad moments in The Square, another helping of neo-noir.

If you spend a lot of time watching so-called indies, you may be close to the saturation point with neo-noir thrillers in which an ordinarily judicious sap is drawn into a world of trouble because he can't keep his fly zipped. I almost skipped the Australian movie The Square because I'd had my fill of the kind of James M. Cain wannabes that regularly unreel at local art houses. That would have been a mistake, if a minor one. I'm glad I made time for The Square, director Nash Edgerton's movie about a construction supervisor who's complicit in his own seedy downfall. Ray (David Roberts) wants to leave his wife and run off with Carla (Claire van der Boom. In order for that to happen, Carla must split from her husband (Anthony Hayes), a boor, jerk and petty criminal. Flight looks more likely when Carla discovers that her husband has stashed a bag full of money in the ceiling of the laundry room. Ray and Carla will take the money, skip town and live happily ever after. Familiarity with both life and movies, promptly inspires us to say, "Fat chance." To be sure, nothing works out for Ray and Carla, but Edgerton the script by Edgerton and Matthew Dabner proves perversely clever. And don't arrive late or you'll miss Spider, the nasty but inspired short that precedes The Square.

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