Friday, November 6, 2009

The Box: Review

Question: A stranger offers you an unassuming box with a big red button on it and tells you that if you push the button, you will recieve 1 million, tax free, american dollars in cash, but someone whom you don't know will die.

What do you do?

Answer: Push the button and hope that the person who get's 86'd is at least one of the monkeys who decided to stretch this 26 minute Twilight Zone episode into a confusing, nearly 2 hour film that will ultimately infuriate you.

Maybe it's not that bad.

A man and wife (James Marsden and Cameron Diaz), are facing financial hardships and raising a young boy in Virginia circa 1976.

One day, a strange, disfigured man (Frank Langela) offers them the opportunity to have a million bucks if they're willing to push a button that will mean certain doom for someone whom they "don't know".

And that's it.

From a technical stand point it's effective as a suspensful thriller that draws you in and genuinely creeps you out more than it scares you. There are scenes that are very tense and in general, the idea of the ethics involved will keep you pondering what you would actually do if given the same challenge. That, along with the methodical pacing of the film and the way the clues slowly pile up will keep you tense and interested for a large portion of the movie. The performences are all strong too and even the music is effective.

The problem is in the eventual "pay-off".

Considering that it's written and directed by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko), it's not that surprising. Taking that into consideration, I shouldn't have been surprised when the movie jumped (the shark) in the middle of the 2nd act and went from tense and suspenseful to silly and confusing.

Like "Darko", box is so engaging and eerie that the preposterous explantion is dissapointing to the point that I, along with many of the people overheard at last nights screening, felt angry.

What could have been a frightning, pyschological thriller, ends up being a sort of pretentious and convoluted allegory on ethics and morality.

If you really, really liked Donnie Darko and didn't mind that 2/3rds of that movie was one thing and then it turned into something ridiculous, then you may enjoy "The Box".

If we weren't in a recession, I would suggest checking it out and deciding for yourself, but instead I'll urge you to wait to rent it "On Demand", which I assume it will be on in about 6 weeks.



  1. I really wanna see this one...but like, from the mailman who sells bootleg DVDs as a side hustle. I really don't like Cameron Diaz. it'll be interesting to see her take on this role. The accent she's using in this movie is gonna make my ears bleed. James Marsden is a dream, and I've been in love with him for 12 years.
    Before seeing the preview (how come you didn't include it?), I was all like "yea, I wouldn't take that money cuz Frank Langella does NOT have an honest face", but now it seems that they don't have much of a choice.

  2. I did post a trailer, what are you blind?

  3. I was subjected to this nonsense via a press pass.....they owe me money

  4. I have heard nothing good about this movie but I still want to see it.

  5. @ceiling fan, you should see it, the longer I think about it, the more I realize that it didn't suck all that bad. It's like "eye's wide shut" in that, it's has it's flaws, but as a movie it's a decent experience that was effective in what it set out to do, which was creep you out. i think.

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  7. ok I just saw the movie (FINALLY) and it wasn't too bad...aside from the fact that I had to look at the dude with half a face while eating my taco bell =/

    Anyway, the thing I like most about it is the 70s feel it had to it. It didn't seem like a movie made in 2009 where they just gave them an old school wardrobe and said "1976" on the screen after the opening credits. It realllllly looked like an old movie. VERY Twilight Zonesque. ok this comment was a waste of my time cuz nobody's reading a post from 4 months ago. *shrug*



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