Friday, March 19, 2010

The Box Review

Director: Richard Kelly Screenplay: Richard Kelly, based on a short story by Richard Matheson Cast: Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella, James Marsden Time: 119min Age Restriction: 13V

Sci-fi Thriller

Summary Review:
The Box is an eerie, retro sci-fi thriller about the human struggle to put others' wellbeing before one's own.

Nora Lewis (Cameron Diaz) is a schoolteacher, whose husband, Arthur (James Marsden) works at NASA. They have a son called Walter and together they are a typical '70s family, seemingly happy though they are living "paycheck-to-paycheck".

But their happiness gets tested when a box is delivered to their doorstep. Then the disfigured Mr Stewart arrives at their home and explains that when the button on the box is pressed, someone in the world (who they don't know) will die, but they will receive one million dollars in cash (this scene was very reminiscent of Dr Evil).

The Lewises now have to choose between assuring their own financial security and someone else's life, in a very literal metaphor of the kind of battles we all go through every day – putting our own interests aside for the will of others.

I really didn't know what to make of The Box. It seemed very off-balance with fine comic actors, like Diaz and Marsden, playing the leads in a seriously eerie thriller. What's more, they didn't even have their "drama faces" on; it seemed like they were in full comedy mode, while the script and the flow of the film was going in a whole other direction. Quite puzzling.

After a series of twists, The Box gets very weird, following the supernatural sci-fi trends of the '70s. Coupled with the soft transitions of the cinematography, the loopy storyline made me we wonder at times whether The Box was not perhaps meant to be a spoof film.

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