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:: The Square

‘The Square’ has some big shoes to fill. While some journalists have already made the call that the Australian Film Industry is dead, some have held onto the hope that the industry just needs one commercial hit to get its heartbeat going again. Added to this is the pressure Nash Edgerton has brought onto himself by directing several brilliant short films. With those two things in mind most journalists have decided that ‘The Square’ will be the commercial hit that Australia needs. Luckily for Nash ‘The Square’ just happens to be one of the films of the year.

The Joel Edgerton penned script tells the story of Raymond Yale (David Roberts), a middle-aged construction manager who is trapped in a loveless marriage to his wife, Martha (Lucy Bell). He escapes this marriage by having an affair with the younger Carla Smith (Claire Van Der Boom) who is married to the criminally-minded (and very dangerous) Smithy (Anthony Hayes). Very much in love the couple decides to skip town and take some of Smithy’s money with them. They come up with a plan that will allow them to take the money without Smithy even finding out but when they hire local arsonist, Billy (Joel Edgerton) to help them things start going wrong with tragic consequences. Suddenly everyone’s life is in danger.

It is hard to believe that this is Joel’s Edgerton’s first script let alone that this is Nash’s first attempt at directing a feature film. There are writer/director teams out there that have been making films for decades who can’t make a film half as good as ‘The Square’. The script works perfectly because it doesn’t fall into the common trap of clichés and it constantly keeps the audience wondering just what is coming next. Because of all the twists and turns this is one film that you don’t watch… you experience.

The acting in this film is also top notch, a surprise seeing that both David Roberts and Claire Van Der Boom have had limited acting experience. Yes Roberts has been in some Hollywood blockbusters but only in minor roles. Roberts and Van Der Boom make this film a joy to watch. Every strain of emotion that their characters go through is there for all to see and they are well backed up by brilliant performances by Anthony Hayes, Joel Edgerton and the ever-reliable Peter Phelps. Don’t be too surprised if any of these actors pop up for an award or two come AFI Award night.

It seems if any film is going to kick some life back into the Australian Film Industry than ‘The Square’ is definitely the one that should be able to do it. ‘The Square’ has the gritty feel that other Aussie crime-thrillers such as ‘Two Hands’ and ‘West’ managed to produce so well; and mixes that with the smart film noir storylines that audiences have come to expect from some of the best European films.

‘The Square’ is just one of the best Australian films of 2008, it’s one the best films that you’re likely to see anywhere in the world.