Friday 25 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Old-school noir in a modern way,...

Old-school noir in a modern way, 'The Square' cuts a dark, twisted path through betrayal and revenge

Mike Robertson July 8th, 2010

Back in the day, filmmakers were careful to maintain a certain moral hierarchy, making sure that the bad people got what they deserved, and the good people walked off with maybe a scratch or two, but no real damage. It was just an understood thing, a product of the studio system in which content " even slightly naughty content like noir " was crafted so as not to offend.

Somewhere along the line, writers and directors decided that was a stupid policy, and they stopped pretending like good things come to those who play by the rules, and that cheaters never win. The existential cruelties of an uncaring universe jumped in the front seat and became the drivers of gritty, urban dramas.

"The Square" is interesting because it's a gritty drama in the modern mode, but also a throwback to the time when everyone got exactly what he deserved. In that sense, it's old-school noir, full of dark twists, betrayal and comeuppance.

The film screens Friday-Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Our anti-hero is Ray (David Roberts, "Ghost Rider"), a construction foreman working to get a set of luxury condos up and operating according to his jerk boss's unreasonable schedule. While making deals, Ray accepts a kickback from one of his contractors.

But that's not all. Ray is also having an affair with the much-younger Carla (Australian actress Claire van der Boom). Screwing around puts Carla on thin ice because her husband, Greg (Anthony Hayes, "Ned Kelly"), is a criminal of some sort, the kind of guy who treads quietly, carries a big gun and sports a super-sweet mullet.

Carla finds out that Greg has a boatload of cash stashed in their house, so she begs Ray to steal it, burn down the house, and then run away together to live happily ever after. Ray is reluctant, then decides to play along. He uses his kickback money to hire Billy (Joel Edgerton, "Smokin' Aces") to burn down her house while they're all out having a Christmas picnic (that's what they do in Australia, apparently).

While all that may sound complicated, it's nothing to how things become when the plan begins to go wrong. One missed phone call begins a chain of events that leads to the inevitable doling out of justice for all involved. While it's not much of a surprise to see some of the players punished, the ones who ultimately walk away scratched, but OK, are difficult to guess.

Like the old noirs, which often made Los Angeles look and feel like the underside of a shoe, "The Square" somehow makes the sunny Australian countryside and cities seem just as scuzzy " a veneer barely covering a corrupt, greedy underbelly.

Roberts is perfect as the dour, hapless Ray, who can't help but keep pulling his misery's thread, and van der Boom projects just the right amount of conniving naivete to make her worthy of both sympathy and disdain. "Mike Robertson
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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