The Square by Nash Edgerton – review

April 23, 2010
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nash edgerton the squareIf you like to leave a movie theatre with gray hair and an anxiety disorder, Nash Edgerton’s Aussie noir The Square is definitely your nasty fucking speed.  The Square is the closest in balls, blood and suspense to the shit I’m raving about book-wise here every week, stuff from authors like Allan Guthrie, Jason Starr or Anthony Neil Smith – the shit that’s just gleefully intense noir.  Also like those fellas, The Square has a sick as fuck sense of humor.

Ray is perfectly fine with his life, living with his wife, fucking his mistress, and taking the occasional kickback in his job as a construction foreman.  When his mistress discovers her criminal boyfriend’s duffel bag of money, Ray just seems to fall into a plan.  Before he and the mistress can escape to new lives together with the cash, they need to cover their tracks.  So Ray hires a professional arsonist to burn down the mistress’ house after they’ve taken the bag, making the boyfriend think that his money was burned up in an electrical fire.  But things don’t exactly go according to plan…

It’s a great story packed with great characters and many disturbing twists and turns, but it’s a richer experience than simply great pulp (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Edgerton is unafraid of making his heroes despicable or his bad guys sympathetic, often at the exact times you want to love or hate them the most.  There’s a careful attention to class differences as well, the border between Ray and his upper-middleclass wife’s house and the mistress and her mullet-headed boyfriend’s house literally being a river.  Speaking of mullets, according to The Square it seems everyone in Aussie blue collar or criminal work has either a baseball player goatee, mullet or both.  And then there’s the whole thing about the dogs…

But don’t get any ideas that this shit isn’t first and foremost a down-and-dirty noir experience strictly for the basement crazies.  The Square is what you wish American movies would pump out, nasty-ass shit that makes you clammy and queasy like the first time you saw Blood Simple.  To say more is to spoil the disgusting surprises, but if you honestly need any more enticement than what I’ve already served up to your ass, this shit just ain’t for you.  With films like this, The Proposition and the reportedly kick fucking ass Animal Kingdom coming out of Australia, the US is in danger of becoming completely out-badassed.  This is may soon be a matter of national fucking security.

(NOTE: In the “Related posts” below there’s a link to some crime fiction short films by Nash Edgerton.  They’re all very good, especially “Spider,” but if you see The Square in theaters they play that short before the feature.  I saw it online beforehand, but it would have been an incredible experience to see it in front of an audience of similarly horrified viewers.  Do with this information what you will.  I’m not the boss of youse.)

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Nerd of Noir

I love crime/noir fiction, comics and movies. I think my opinions are web-worthy. Then again, what asshole doesn't think that their opinions deserve a blog?

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