Written by: Russell Davidson, CC2K Sports Editor
“Kinda strange, isn’t it? The things we do?” asks a character from the great Aussie film The Square. And yeah, he’s right. There be some strange things going on Down Under, things like robbery, blackmail, murder, betrayal, and dog-love. A film noir piece in every respect, The Square succeeds in hitting what it’s aiming for, a bulls-eye of beautiful bleakness, magnificent misery, delicious despair.
The Australians are adept at the B-film, going back to the first two Mad Max movies and continuing on to more recent entries like the great western The Proposition. The Square fits right into this tradition, low-budget, low-concept, high creativity. It begins with our mild-mannered hero, in love with someone other than his wife, and the steps he and his mistress take to try and be together. Nothing’s easy, of course, as one event leads to another and before long all are in the shit. With movies like this it’s not wondering who will die by the end, it’s more like whom, if anyone, will live.
The film is directed by first-timer Nash Edgerton and co-written and acted by his brother, Joel. These guys have a bright future. The standard downward-spiral of the main characters is made more interesting with logical plot developments that still surprise, something that can be hard to pull off, nifty camera work and taut pacing. I love noir, I love Double Indemnity and Blood Simple and Out Of The Past and Memento and The Big Combo etc etc etc. I love it when the bad guy gets away and all the good guys are dead/wounded/seriously messed up. No one gets what they want in these films, kinda like real life, no fairy tales. The Square fits right in.
(Which got me thinking…Is there a direct correlation between budget and quality? There seems to be. I’m dubbing it The Davidson Equation, after myself, a simple formula which says that as the budget of a film goes up, the quality of the film goes down. The Square costs peanuts, yet is a very good film. Avatar cost billions and sucked eggs. The best movies out there are Indies and Documentaries, which are cheap. The worst, studio films, which are expensive. A coincidence? I think not. Of course, there are exceptions…..Further research, I’d say, has to be done. I’m on it.)
Meanwhile, see The Square. Or be one.