It’s May again! And you know what that means around these parts – film noir. We are in our second year of the Noir City festival postponement in Austin due to COVID, but we are soldiering on with some of our favorite titles that fall under the broad heading of noir. We are kicking things off with an entry that we think belongs among the upper reaches of the neo-noir canon, Nash Edgerton’s The Square (2008). Fueled by the time tested motivators of sex and money, this one is a classic case of how everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It is a remarkably assured first feature and bears all the hallmarks of a filmmaker that truly loves the genre and has this style of movie making in their blood.
When I first saw The Square at SXSW Film in 2009, it knocked a theater full of us right back in our seats. I’ve seen these types of circumstances spiral out of control as a protagonist becomes more and more overwhelmed by their predicament before, but rarely have I seen such a well crafted and credible escalation of those circumstances. As things go from bad to worse to worst, Edgerton gamely runs the audience through a gauntlet of “OK, I see how this could happen, but my stomach is still in knots”. It is immaculately executed and does one thing better than any other film I have seen in a long time – It makes you understand the classic noir fate that sometimes being the one that survives is worse than any death. It is a must see.
What you’ll find in this episode: stuntmen turned directors, my Charles Barkley imitation, kickbacks, rendezvous, and giving new meaning to lighting the Christmas tree.
Check out The Square on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of A Simple Plan.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Horseman.
Nash Edgerton’s short films.
A handy list to get you started with Australian crime films.