Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pushing Buttons: The Box

The Box (2009) - Kelly
The box is a simple morality play, set in the 70s, Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales) style. Combining conspiracy theory, pseudo science and extended bits from Twin Peaks and X-Files with big religious undertones, Kelly concocts, once again, hugely ambitious and cyclical film that is far more interesting and absorbing than average Hollywood fare.

A stranger with a disfigured face (Frank Langella) drops off the box at the doorstep of Arthur, a NASA scientist (James Marsden) and Norma, a school teacher (Cameron Diaz with an atrocious Southern accent). The box contains a clear plastic covered red button. The stranger explains that if they push the button, someone they don't know will die and they will receive one million dollars. The couple struggles with the idea for few days...

By no means the Box is a fully successful film. Kelly's overly labored plot feels like a house of cards ready to come crashing down at any given moment. Spirituality here is treated like a condiment. And there are way too much explanations for it to be enigmatic and mysterious. Oh, Cameron Diaz should realize that she looks very freaky when she is not smiling.

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