Blu-ray: Recommended
3.5 Stars out of 5
Sale Price 4.4
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3rd Party 16.78
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Release Date: August 24th, 2010
Movie Release Year: 2008
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

The Square

Review Date August 11th, 2010 by
Overview - A stylish, twist-filled film noir, The Square centers on an adulterous couple whose scheming leads to arson, blackmail and murder. Escaping the monotony of a loveless marriage, Raymond Yale becomes entangled in an affair with the beautiful and troubled Carla. Ray's moral limits are tested when Carla presents him with the proceeds of her controlling husband's latest crime. This is their chance: Take the money and run...If only it were that simple. The seed is planted and Ray, fearing he will lose his love, engineers the plan. Hiring the professional arsonist Billy becomes a fatal error, and the plan goes horribly wrong. Alarm bells sound and suspicions are raised but, miraculously, the dust looks to settle. After all... Nobody knows. Then the first blackmail note arrives.
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc
    Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p/AVC
    Length:106
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):2.35:1
    English Descriptive Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound
    Subtitles/Captions: English, English SDH
    Special Features: Inside The Square
    Pre-Visualisation
    Visual Effects
    Short film: Spider
    Music video: "Sand" by Jessica Chapnik
    Movie Studio: Sony
    Release Date: August 24th, 2010

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4 Stars out of 5

After so many movies that move at a break-neck pace all the way up to their conclusion it's nice to see a thriller that has more of a slow burn effect. 'The Square,' set in Australia, evolves slowly, leading us through the life of Ray (David Roberts, 'Ghost Rider') who is having an affair with a woman in his neighborhood named Carla.

Ray runs a construction business and is overseeing a site where his team is about to pour a giant square of cement. Carla is married to Greg who never seems quite right. One day Carla comes in to find Greg stashing a bag full of money and a bloody shirt. Carla snoops around and finds out where Greg stashed the bag. Like most people in movies who are around bags of money, Carla can't help herself, and schemes with Ray to steal it so they can runaway together.

Ray is a tortured character, pulled in different directions by his wife, his job, and a headstrong mistress. After Ray and Carla agree to steal the money, things go wrong, quickly.

You know what they say, "The best laid plans…" It's as if characters like Ray are doomed to a life where nothing ever goes their way. His wife is distant, his girlfriend wants him to steal for her, and his boss is breathing down his neck. Against Ray's better judgment he hires an arsonist to burn down Carla's house to mask the fact that they stole the money. When the house burns down with someone in it, things change. This is no longer a simple grab and dash job. Ray wasn't ready to become a murderer.

Robert's portrayal of the conflicted Ray is equal parts heart-wrenching and gut-twisting. As the events of 'The Square' soon start spiraling out of control, Ray finds himself trapped in a web of deceit that he can't untangle himself from. Like watching a moth try to escape the light fixture it so readily flew into, watching Ray flounder about is hard. Like the moth, Ray was attracted by something that he couldn't resist. For the moth it's a bright light, for Ray it's an attractive woman who cares about him. He'll do anything for his love, even if it's something completely against his nature.

That's what is most rewarding about 'The Square.' Watching people put into situations that they would never have believed they would find themselves in. Decisions have consequences and the consequences of Ray's action become more dire as the movie progresses.

This isn't your typical 100 minute, tightly-wound thriller. 'The Square' is a character piece wrapped inside a thriller. What will people do when they're confronted with problems they have no way of escaping? Ray is a heart-breaking character. We really feel for the guy. In the end however, he's chosen his path and now we get to watch what happens when everything comes together, and in Ray's case it isn't going to be pretty.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    50GB Blu-ray Disc
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC
    Length:106
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.35:1
    Audio Formats:
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English, English SDH
    Special Features:
    Inside The Square
    Pre-Visualisation
    Visual Effects
    Short film: Spider
    Music video: "Sand" by Jessica Chapnik
    Movie Studio: Sony
    Release Date: August 24th, 2010

Video Review

3 Stars out of 5

Sony's 1080p high-def transfer of 'The Square' comes complete with the AVC encode. The Blu-ray rarely gives off that distinctive high definition look of striking fine detail and clear-cut shadows. Brad Shield's ('Where the Wild Things Are') stark cinematography isn't really shown off in the best light here.

Wide shots fare the best, with sweeping landscapes, especially as Ray's arsonist overlooks the destruction he caused while standing on a nearby bridge. Facial detail is adequate, but much of the movie suffers from a softness that just can't be overcome. Crushing, by far, is the worst offender here, gobbling up faces and bodies whenever the scenery around the characters turns darker. Source noise, in the shape of white spots and flecks appear occasionally, but at times it can become quite distracting.

'The Square' is a taught thriller with outstanding cinematography. It's a shame this Blu-ray is far from demo-worthy. Shield's brooding photography is something that would have shone through on a better looking presentation.

Audio Review

4 Stars out of 5

Fortunately, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound presentation attached to 'The Square's Blu-ray offers a bit more in the way of enjoyment. The track is alive with all the menacing, threatening sounds that come part and parcel with thrillers. Deep looming bass during the action scenes. High-pitched violin music when things are heating up. There's a range in this presentation that will please most viewers.

Dialog comes through the center channel nice and clear (even though with their accents it might be hard to understand the actors at first. My wife had a hard time understanding them until we were about 10 – 15 minutes into the movie). Directionality is cleanly placed throughout the soundfield as speeding cars and motorcycles dart from one side of the screen to the other with their sounds following right along with them. As a car rolls off the road and crashes off screen we hear all the metal crunching exactly where it should be.

If the video would have come up and met the audio presentation in quality we would be looking at a great Blu-ray disc all around.

Special Features

3.5 Stars out of 5
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 25 min.) – A whopping 14 deleted scenes in all. There are actually quite a few deleted scenes here that are interesting to watch and would have added some more explanation to the movie. I wish the scene with Ray's wife had been added as I felt her character was short-changed, but I'm definitely glad they left out the musical montage.
  • Pre-Visualization (SD, 5 min.) – This is just a very short making-of featurette that chronicles the plans before they started filming. It also talks about different filming techniques with the crew.
  • Inside 'The Square' (SD, 30 min.) – This is a surprisingly substantial and satisfying look at the entire making of the film. They go over all the steps from pre-production to post-production. They talk about how the script came to be, the shooting styles they used, and the editing of it afterwards. This is definitely a must see special feature for anyone who likes this film. Nothing about it feels EPK-like.
  • Scene Deconstruction (SD, 5 min.) – Supervisor of 'The Square's visual effects, Dave Trethewey, points out in a few different scenes what's computer generated and what isn't. It's pretty interesting, because after watching the film I never came away with the feeling that something in it was enhanced by computers. A mark of good CG! There are three specific scenes included, "Billy watches the fire," "House fire," and "Falling Dream."
  • "Sand" Music Video (SD, 4 min.) – Excuse me for a moment as we slip into some bizarro world of Disney Blu-ray where a music video must come on every new release no matter what the movie is. After all these great making-of featurettes we're given a music video? For a movie like this? Really? Just strange.
  • Short Film: 'Spider' (SD, 9 min.) – This is a short film from Director Nash Edgerton that was shown before screenings of 'The Square' in theaters. I won't mention much about it since it's so short and I'm afraid I might give something away. I'll just say this, you should watch it. Edgerton really is a fine director, whether it's short films or feature length ones.
  • Previews (HD) – A whole slew of previews are included for 'Harry Brown,' 'Fireflies in the Garden,' 'The Pillars of the Earth,' 'The Runaways,' 'A Single Man,' and 'Chloe.'

Final Thoughts

'The Square' has a hint of the Coen brothers to it. This is the kind of story they would relish. It's a thriller that doesn't have all the answers, instead we're left to question along with the characters. Watching Ray sink into a never ending hole is hard, but completely worth it. Edgerton directs the action without any slam-bang tactics. It's all just there for you to witness and draw your own conclusions. 'The Square' is one of those movies I wish more people would have been able to see. Here's your chance! This Blu-ray has middling video, fine sound, and a heavy helping of informative extras. I'm recommending 'The Square.' This is a fantastic little film.

Sale Price 4.4
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3rd Party 16.78
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    50GB Blu-ray Disc
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC
    Length:106
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.35:1
    Audio Formats:
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English, English SDH
    Special Features:
    Inside The Square
    Pre-Visualisation
    Visual Effects
    Short film: Spider
    Music video: "Sand" by Jessica Chapnik
    Movie Studio: Sony
    Release Date: August 24th, 2010