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.

Give ‘Em Hell, Malone

Like a drifter, he was born to walk alone.

Living the hardscrabble life, Thomas Jane prowls the dirty, dangerous streets, gun in hand, scowl permanently etched on his face.

He used to be a private eye with a family, now he’s something different – a hard man willing to do rough jobs if the pay is right.

But, somewhere deep under the layers of bitterness and hurt still (barely) beats a conscience which won’t be completely silenced.

Directed with customary snap by Highlander main man Russell Mulcahy, this might be mid-level noir.

But mid-level noir is still better than no noir.

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.

The Lookout

Get the money, get the power.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is aces as a man struggling with the aftereffects of a vicious car crash, which leaves two dead and him dealing with amnesia and mental issues.

Doing time as an after-hours employee at a bank, he gets sucked into a dangerous world of robberies and betrayal when he hangs out with the wrong folks.

One of those new friends is the silky Isla Fisher, playing the kind of movie dame who can tickle your libido and leave you to bleed out, all without breaking a sweat.

Here be danger, dark and enticing.

Bad Lieutenant

“I’m sorry, Lord. I’ve done so many bad things.”

As rough and unapologetic as any semi-mainstream ’90s film, this hard-edged neo-noir gives Harvey Keitel one of his best roles.

He’s a miserable pile of crap masquerading as a cop, only awoken (for a moment) from his self-induced stupor of drugs, drink, and corruption by a nun’s brutal assault.

Keitel hides nothing, his character going full monty while also baring a scorched soul.

It’s riveting work in a film which should be seen in its original NC-17 form, not the chopped-up edition commissioned back then by Evil Empire twits at Blockbuster.