If the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley, how much more so the haphazardly laid plans? That’s the premise of the slight but thoroughly enjoyable “The Square”. A man listens to his smaller head and then lets his bigger one get him involved in one shady deal, then another, each inexorably leading to the next disaster. As it so often does, an illicit affair and a satchel full of ill-gotten cash are what enable an otherwise only marginally dishonest guy to work himself in deeper and deeper until the guns come out.
I liked it, not least because I didn’t recognize any of the pretty darn good Australian actors. With so many American studio movies, you got the Ben Affleck Effect.
You know, where a movie starts out with a decent premise, nice acting, an engaging plot and then….Ben Affleck shows up. Or Leonardo DiCaprio or George Clooney and suddenly you’re jolted out of the movie with, “Hey! Ben Affleck!”
And then you’re comparing the current movie with that other Ben Affleck performance in the that terrible Boston bank robber movie or the execrable one where he fights Superman, and it takes a while, if you can at all, to stop thinking of Ben Affleck and get back to the actual characters in the movie. None of that with this small budget pleasantly nasty Australian production. New faces you don’t associate with other movies. You can submerge into the complicated premise along with the characters.
Good photography, a tropical deluge (I don’t picture it ever raining in Australia. How wrong I was!), a couple three unexpected twists, and a car chase. It’s cool how odd car chases look to us Americans what with everybody chasing while driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Aussie slang is fun, an amusing discussion of how to build your own shark cage, throwing shrimp on the barbie, and swimming dogs. What is not to like?
As so often, lust, miscommunication and a bag of money are all that’s required to get the wheels in motion, and the wheels turn in sometimes comic, sometimes appalling directions. Not the best thriller ever made, but far, far from the worst and well worth your couple hours on the elliptical. Recommended!
I’d never have seen it without Amazon Prime, so, “good on ya, mate!” for that.