Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DVD--The Box

or: Beware of boxes. They kill.

One word to sum it up: Puzzling.

After a while of deciding which of the week's movies I should choose to watch, I finally decided on The Box. Why? Because, back in early 2008, I was obsessed with James Marsden, and vowed to watch all of his films. I didn't, but I knew The Box would be one I'd watch in the future. But after months of delay and no cinema release here, I kinda gave up on that hope. Suddenly it turns up on DVD, and though I had lost interest in watching it, I chose this over like five others.

Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden), a suburban couple with a young child, receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world, someone they don't know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the cross-hairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.

I can't really say that I didn't enjoy this movie. Because I did, immensely, too. I was even prepared to give it a higher rating. But I gave it an hour to sink in and I found that this movie wasn't really that great. It has a fantastic premise and it is obviously well thought through. Perhaps too thought through...that's it's problems. You see all these problems arising and it's obvious that Richard Kelly knows what's going on, he just hasn't allowed the viewer to come to the party. It's a case of one's imagination getting the better of him...and the viewer, it would seem.

On one hand, The Box offers some thrills and definitely gets you thinking about humanity and fate. I mean, would you kill someone you don't know for $1 million? On the other hand, the film has gaping wide plot holes and feels messy. It's like an unfinished puzzle which is missing some pieces: it never feels complete. Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella offer some good performances, but they are trying to make use of some really weak dialogue. Which is a shame, coz this movie could go far, but it didn't quite have the recipe to do so. Richard Kelly has talent, as shown with Donnie Darko, but sometimes the talent isn't always a blessing.

THE VERDICT: Very intriguing and entertaining, but on a professional level this film doesn't quite come together as it should, and offers more questions than answers. However, it's still worth the watch for fans of thoughtful thrillers.

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