If there is a lesson to be learned in this movie it's this:
Never cheat on your spouse.
It never works out in the movies or in life.
Raymond Yale is a construction worker who is dealing in shady business with a contractor. Taking a shave of money on top, Ray is already risking his family and his life. On top of this, Ray has a mistress that happens to be his buddy's wife. One day Carla (the mistress) brings ray a bag of money that she found in an attic stashed by her husband and proposal: Steal the money, leave town with her. Ray rejects the notion, but later (after some 'convincing') decides to concoct a plan that sees the saucy's suggestion through. Regretfully, as plans usually do, something goes dreadfully wrong. After hiring an arsonist to burn down Carla's house, so it looks like the money burned with it, Ray's plan accidentally kills Carla's husband's mother (who was sleeping in the house). What started as a simple plan now formed into murder; regretfully there was also a witness.
The idea behind The Square is that there really isn't an easy way out of the situation (thus the name). I found the story very real and not farfetched. Typically when I watch films I have to find some sort of 'out' that the director/writer has to put into it to make the story work. The Square puts together a very believable storyline. David Roberts' Raymond is a very believable character. The man is obviously in his 40s, just reaching his midlife crisis. He has himself a honey on the side and is looking for some sort of happiness in his life, at any cost necessary. He isn't convinced that he should leave his wife, but doesn't want to lose his mistress. Add all of this to the fact that he's skimming off the top (which I'm sure a lot of men in his position do) and this character is someone you could know.
Now, you might say that his situation is a bit spiraling as one stumble turns into a giant avalanche, but Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner's story makes it through smoothly. You can believe that what happens to Yale could possibly keep tumbling the way it does. Everything is easily explainable and fits together quite nicely. What amazes me about the acting and writing, especially the writing, is that the actors connect perfectly with their characters and the draw a large amount of intensity and suspense as the film rolls along. The film uses this type of atmosphere to drive it all home. By the end of the film you're as thrilled as the actors that you made it through (not to say that specific characters made it through). It's very intense from beginning to end.
With all of this said, this movie has been done before. Cheating spouses, betrayal with friendships and death all around has been a theme in many films. Has it been done better than Nash Edgerton's? Yes it has. I guess the difference is that this is one of the more brutal films of its kind. When you see Carla's husband Greg go nuts on someone shortly after the fire you understand how real the situation has gotten for Yale. When you see Greg's reaction that his mother was in the fire you understand how human everyone is in the film. When you see Ray's wife detect the disconnection between husband and wife you get closer to everyone. These folks are very 'real' in the film and it helps separate The Square in that category from the other movies like it.
As for the film being on Blu-ray it certainly benefits from it. While not the most gorgeous Blu-ray in the world, The Square still exceeds the DVD and theatrical version. The film is mostly shot in a drab, gray shade that doesn't lend a lot to the HD capabilities. Having reds, whites and blacks predominant in the film help a lot when it comes to transferring a film to HD. Need an example of that? Check out 20th Century Fox's Kalifornia. While I didn't particularly love the movie I did appreciate what it looked like in HD. I've never seen anything prettier onscreen when Brad Pitt is leading, but the backdrops of the west and east locales made him look like an 'extra'. Anyway, you'll get a high quality HD picture with The Square, but there are better looking films on Blu-ray out there.
As for features, you're going to get a nice behind the scenes featurette that will give you a lot more insight about the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed this featurette as I love seeing people involved in the film talking about what went into it. Other than that you get some interesting extras, such as a short film called 'Spider' and another featurette that talks about the 'pre-visualization' of The Square. Here's a complete list for you:
- Music Video: “Sand” by Jessica Chapnik
- Deleted Scenes
- Featurette: “Inside The Square”
- Featurette: “Pre-Visualisation”
- Visual Effects Scene Deconstructions
- Short Film: Spider