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Movie review: The Square

The Square is an Australian film that tells the story of Ray (David Roberts), an unhappily married construction worker who has an affair with a younger married woman, Carla (Claire van der Boom). Planning to run away together, Carla comes across a large sum of money hidden by her mobster-affiliated husband. Seeing an outlet out of their marriages, they run with a foolproof idea of obtaining the money and starting their life together. However, in the fashion of film noir, things don't always go to plan.

The Square premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival last week and premiered tonight at the Landmark Midtown Art theatre, where the Atlanta Film Festival took place. Critics have compared The Square to other notable film noir classics such as the various Coen Brothers films and Lawrence Kasdan's "Body Heat." As much as I am an enthusiast of the genre and the storyline of this film, I am going to have to go against these comparisons for a couple reasons (please note that what is going to be discussed are spoilers, so please read with caution).

First and foremost, the leading male characters in film noir fashion are driven by one thing - the woman. Whether it's a drifter, an insurance salesman, or a cop, they are always blinded with lust by the woman and would do anything to win her. It is understood that The Square is neo-noir, but the nature of Ray and Carla's relationship appears to be more of an escape of their marriages rather than a sexually-driven, highly energetic courtship seen in the majority of noir films. They look like a natural couple, but the intensity was lacking. This was very much needed since they are apparently madly in love and want to run away together.

Another reason this film could be better were the different narratives going on within the second act. The emphasis was clearly on Ray's struggle to get out of this work and home environments. However, so many minor characters were thrown in equally and the character used for the "big twist" was forgettable. There were clearly two or three other characters that would have been suitable for the roles rather than trying to recall what role this person played.

Lastly, why wasn't Ray's wife featured more?

In all, the film was enjoyable to watch. The acting was engaging and natural. Apart from the plot holes, the dialogue was very well done. The cinematography was meticulously shot in blue tones even though that appears to be the growing trend in film. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a break from the norm. 

Special feature: Accompanying the screening is a short film by The Square's director, Nash Edgerton, called Spider. Watch it.

For more information: Please visit The Square website or the Landmark's website for tickets and showtimes. 

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