The Square (2008)

Ready to dance with danger?

Everyone has ulterior motives, and a lot of the characters are capable of shocking violence, in this superb Aussie neo noir from the pen of actor Joel Edgerton.

Directed by his brother, Nash, it spins a tale of infidelity, intrigue, and ever-increasing danger, as a construction foreman tries to get out of town with his mistress, the money, and his freedom.

Oh, you poor naïve rube.

Take a wrong turn, make a weak decision, and Hell opens beneath your feet — it’s the first rule of noir, whether it’s filmed in the ’40s or the 2000’s.

Girl Asleep

Welcome to the troubled years.

Struggling to stay afloat, a young Aussie lass bounces between the reality of her 1970s home life, and a surreal dream vista where her friends and family take on bold, sometimes disturbing new looks.

Lost in a forest of the mind, our heroine pursues a creature who has stolen her music box, which leads her into conflict with evil versions of her classmates, and more.

Meanwhile, back in what passes for reality, she has birthday party shenanigans to deal with.

A subtle mix of sad, funny, and touchingly sweet, this is a rare gem.

 

Kill Me Three Times

Not a nice person in the bunch.

Everyone is up to no good in this brutally-funny Aussie crime thriller, which pits a pack of greedy, fairly stupid individuals against each other.

There are twists galore, and the film certainly owes a debt of gratitude to folks like the Coen brothers, who popularized the blood-spattered, wink-heavy shoot ’em up.

But it’s unique enough in its own twisted way, and features a great performance from Simon Pegg as a seedy private eye not above whackin’ folks to make ends meet.

He’s got guns, he’s got quips, he’s having a jolly old time.

Wolf Creek

Gnarly in the extreme.

Spraying blood ‘n guts across the outback, the coldly-efficient killer who dominates this Aussie gore-fest doesn’t hide his face behind a mask like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers.

Instead, Mick Taylor — brought to life with a guttural roar by John Jarratt — is open and up front about everything he does.

Which, unfortunately for the tourists, generally consists of slashing, hacking, dismembering, and, eventually, tossing all the body parts on the barbie.

After years of films making the land down under seem like the place to visit, this one issues a warning.

Value your spine? Stay home.

The Rover

In a post-apocalyptic world, let’s agree to stay out of the Australian outback.

Nothing good ever happens down under after society collapses, evidenced by films from Mad Max to Dead End Drive-In.

This sizzlin’ slice of angry men crashing into each other just reinforces my belief the entire continent is waiting to explode into mayhem and murder at the slightest provocation.

Guy Pearce is the last “good” man alive, ruthless and efficiently brutal, but only in the name of getting back his stolen car.

He’s not to be pushed, but talk about his deceased dog, and he’s a pushover.