Turns a humdrum backwater into a black hole of crime and punishment.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
The Square suggests an exciting future for a pair of brothers with a dark view of pitiless fate.
Dan Kois - Washington Post
The Square calls to mind the skin-tight dread of the Coen brothers' Blood Simple. If that movie remains the more rigorous cinematic achievement, The Square is a more richly ironic pleasure.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
This Down Under noir confuses incoherent body pileups with "twists."
Melissa Anderson - Village Voice
The Square announces the arrival of a new talent worth watching.
Cary Darling - Dallas Morning News
The Square is a morality noir in which there's very little onscreen morality.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
The Square moves with implacable logic toward catastrophe, as its desperate heroes try to squirm out of a tightening noose.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The string-along, bad-to-worse nature of The Square affords a distinct, if sour, sort of satisfaction. Yet its construction is a thing of considerable soundness.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Some have called this neo-noir, but aside from the setting there's nothing "neo" about it; as in classic noir, the characters are slowly but surely ensnared by their own baser impulses.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
It's as if filmmaking brothers Joel and Nash Edgerton (Joel cowrote, produced and costars, Nash directed) sat down and said, "Let's watch these suckers wreck their lives, and the lives of everyone around them."
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
The dramatic structure is familiar, but the characters don't fit neatly into the usual pigeonholes.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Things go from bad to worse to downright disastrous in the enthralling Australian import The Square.
Tom Long - Detroit News
A perverse delight, the rare film that makes you feel good about feeling bad (or at least watching others do so).
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
The Edgertons are a clever pair, all right, even if The Square seems repetitive and sometimes a bit hackneyed.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
A starless but highly effec tive Aussie noir that marks the auspicious feature debut of stuntman and music-video director Nash Edgerton.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
A taut, well-executed if somewhat predictable riff on the murderous caper-that-goes-wrong theme that has anchored sexy, blood-stained crime pictures from The Postman Always Rings Twice to Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
You wonder how the characters could be so inept about their dirty deeds. How did they get so badly in over their heads? It's almost Biblical in the way it metes out rough justice.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Edgerton's commitment to precise cinematic language provides a reminder that movies don't have to be reinvented to simply work like gangbusters.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
There isn't a character in The Square you can care about, beyond pity for their foolishness and exasperation with their greed.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
A well-made and entertaining descent into a black-comic hell.
Sheri Linden - Hollywood Reporter
The brothers Edgerton may not be able to summon the dangerous lust or romance of a Cain story, but they can ably supply the wry sense of fate.
Jake Coyle - Associated Press
The angles don't quite meet in the key relationship between Ray and Carla. We're not sure what's between them -- love, lust, both or neither. That may be the filmmaker's intent, but it lowers the stakes.
Michael Ordona - Los Angeles Times
This kind of crime film is not easy to make, and the Edgertons have done an admirable job with The Square.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
The Square gets plenty of early elements in place to promise something more special than it ultimately becomes... Even a strong first impression can't survive such a flailing resolution.
Nick Davis - Nick's Flick Picks
"The Square": It's Australian for noir, mate.
Rob Thomas - Wisconsin State Journal
A debut feature that replaces the Coen brothers' humor in similarly labyrinthine comedies of errors with Arthur Penn's grit and Peckinpah's tense string tuning.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
Dire, frantic, and unfailingly engaging...introduces a major filmmaking talent to the scene who understands the utter joy that comes with detailing complete psychological devastation.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
A tough, twisty tale of murder, adultery and purloined loot that stays true to author James Ellroy's succinct summation of the primary theme of film noir: 'We're all ----ed.'
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The Edgertons are in complete command of their craft, without bringing anything new to the party.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Slick compared to films noir of old, the stunts too cool and characters too swishy, but swaggering with a good old-fashioned edge and raw steaming action for each and every one of its 105 minutes.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
In terms of a modern crime thriller, you're not going to do any better than this debut film.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
The movie's protagonists (and all of its supporting characters) are reprehensible people, and Roberts' performance is fascinatingly uncharismatic, extinguishing any possibility of sympathy for his character even when the film gradually reveals his town to
Sean Gandert - Paste Magazine
While the performances are good, it felt like I had already seen this movie before. Also, if you are looking to root for anyone, you're going to have to look elsewhere.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
The Square recalls one of cinema's all-time classic lines, that moment in 1981's Body Heat when Kathleen Turner's femme fatale Matty Walker studies William Hurt's gullible Ned Racine and declares, "You're not too smart, are you? I like that in a man."
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Rather than intrigue, the pile-up of confounding issues in The Square merely bores, hindered by pacing that is uniformly slow rather than suspenseful. A better title: The Blob.
Kimberly Gadette - Indie Movies Online
What's to be admired is how fearlessly Edgerton embraces the dirt and grime oozing out of "The Square," manufacturing the guilt that's produced when information is withheld, when lies are tossed around, and when the best laid plans go awry.
Sean O'Connell - Hollywood News
A fiendishly gripping thriller.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
The whole thing unfolds with sadistic precision, but Edgerton's expert manipulation makes it a fun ride nonetheless.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
The low-budget Australian thriller actually gets crazier and more off-beat as it goes. It's worth it just to watch things spiral so far out of control.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
...delivers both a gallows wit and biblical sense of justice, punishing the lovers at every turn, which actually works against the piece.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
The Square grinds on you. Hard.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
The Square is a solidly constructed thriller with some missing pieces at the center but vivid splashes of color outside the lines.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A familiar but gripping spiral down the sloppy-criminals rabbit hole.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
When the first 10 minutes of film introduce us to an illicit affair, a kickback scheme, and a hidden bag filled with money, we know we're in for a twisty thriller.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
A mostly winning homage...Isn't just a film noir; it's so complicated an example of the genre that you might call it a film noir squared.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
This brain teaser is tightly edited, cleverly plotted and smartly written. It is lacking in character development and leaves out the sexual gymnastics.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
You needn't like the characters in a noir thriller as long as you're immersed in their growing desperation.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
A riveting tale of a small group of people doing very bad (and pretty dumb) things, The Square works from beginning to end and stands as one of the best feature debuts of the year to date.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
This refreshingly realistic movie's X factor is keeping things low-key as guilt spreads like a virus.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Edgerton makes it a point to complicate each character and action, focusing on complex decisions that produce lasting and often violent consequences.
Janos Gereben - Entertainment Insiders
Let's just say it's a sour, poorly scripted mess of a thriller and leave it at that.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
There's a bit of everything in The Square, so much so that after a while it starts to feel generic.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Every once in a while, a no-frills firecracker comes along to give film noir a kick in the pants, and The Square is the latest example.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Superlative Australian neo-noir has everything you'd ever need for a delightfully dismal tale of deceit and murder.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
The marvelous script is a work of art and its execution is nothing short of phenomenal for a tyro director. It has taken a couple of years for this intelligent little gem to reach our shores but it is worth the wait.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It will be interesting -- and exciting -- to see what the Edgerton brothers come up with next.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
It's a finely calibrated, spiraling lesson in what not to do when engaging in adultery, blackmail, arson, and general antisocial behaviors, and in its best moments it recalls the everyday darkness of James M. Cain.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
The Square is a terrific film noir with an Aussie twist.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Edgerton, a stuntman by trade, doesn't offer much that's new, but the script by his brother, Joel, keeps folding back in on itself, and if character credibility lags, at least the tension stays high.
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
The Square's devil is in its burden of details.
Michelle Orange - Movieline
told elegantly, intelligently, and with the violent moral code of an angry Old Testament deity for whom right and wrong are absolutes to be toyed with at one's peril
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
...the final act of "The Square" is a 1-2-3 knockout punch that few will see coming due to the impeccably tight writing combined with stunning sleight of hand.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The moral can pivot on a dime: is this a karmic noir about consequences, or a nihilistic warning that even a simple scheme can't be controlled?
Amy Nicholson - I.E. Weekly
The occasional missteps (some overly precious symbolism, the grimy DV look) rarely get in the way of the film's many winces, gasps, and breathless, cringing anticipation.
Tasha Robinson - AV Club
Edgerton, a former stuntman, has genuine filmmaking chops. He can build tension up to almost comical levels, but he also has an eye for more offbeat moments.
Bilge Ebiri - IFC.com
Tough and entertaining, a film that coils itself around you like a constrictor and squeezes. You won't want it to let you go.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The Square evokes tangential memories of the classic board game Candyland's Molasses Swamp, because every step of attempted extrication its protagonist takes only seems to plunge him further into trouble.
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
All the genre's conventions -- femme fatale, shady goons, best-laid plans spiraling out of control -- have a proper amount of verve and flair to make the whole package feel almost fresh.
Stephen Garrett - Time Out
It is a crackerjack thriller and a sensational calling card for the brothers Edgerton.
Pam Grady - Boxoffice Magazine
The Square has a toughness, gallows wit, and sense of impending tragedy amplified by its grainy, gliding aesthetics and an agitated performance by David Roberts.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
"The Square" is a masterfully conceived and executed neo-noir from a couple of promising newcomers who have very keen ideas about weaving suspense with thematic weight.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
A wonderfully twisty and dark noir perfectly inspired by the old masterpieces.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
Director Nash Edgerton and writers Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner pull the strings with tremendously adept precision and a marvelous mean streak.
William Goss - Cinematical
Those who seek it out, I suspect, will have no problem in another decade citing the names of the Coens, the Wachowskis and the Edgertons on their list of siblings who used noir to find the light towards a successful and acclaimed filmmaking resume.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
A remarkable piece of thriller craftsmanship.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
David Roberts, who looks and acts like James Stuart, anchors the scary story from Downunder about a robbery-arson scheme gone horribly wrong.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
You react and only afterwards do you think about the moves that prompted you to feel so rattled.
Sandra Hall - Sydney Morning Herald
Though it falls ever so short of being tagged as great, this accomplished and genuinely gripping crime drama is worthy of your time, money and attention.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
It's filled with tasty elements, intriguing characters and a strong sense of place
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
The script is neatly plotted, though not without flaws. Some developments occur in a rush, as if to distract us from asking inconvenient questions.
Jake Wilson - The Age (Australia)
The Edgerton Brothers have come up with a terrific and wonderfully accessible film in which human nature is put under the magnifying glass with detrimental outcomes.
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
For all intents and purposes a film noir of classic proportions, The Square has such a good story it deserves to be seen without knowing too many details about the plot. So I'll avoid plot points, but to say that it is driven by love, betrayal, greed %u20
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
- National Post