From very early in The Square, it’s clear that things are not going to go well for Raymond (David Roberts), a building contractor who’s carrying on an affair with Carla (Claire van der Boom), a younger woman who lives across a shark-infested bay. It’s just simple plot economy; you don’t make reference to shark-infested bays without said sharks getting to dine. Without spoiling things, we’ll note that screenwriters Joel Edgerton (the director’s brother) and Matthew Dabner know the rules, and know how to tweak them a bit. That makes The Square an enjoyable take on very familiar film-noir ideas.
When Carla learns her husband, Greg (Anthony Hayes), is hiding a big bag of money (definitely of the ill-gotten variety) in the house, she persuades Raymond to steal the money, burn down the house to cover the crime and run away together. Even without a Double Indemnity–style voiceover, you know this plan is going to go wrong, but it’s still fun trying to figure out precisely how things will go wrong. Filmmaker Nash Edgerton plays things straight and simple, without any fancy directorial flourishes or attempts to pay homage to other films. He’s built a simple mousetrap, not some baroque twisty contraption, but it’s a clever mousetrap, and it suffices to catch the mouse.