Thinking Outside of the Box

I'm sorry Mr Lewis, the button has been pushed - Arlington Steward

Cameron Diaz in The Box (2009)

It was just a regular week day morning when the door bell rang and woke Norma (Cameron Diaz - My Sister's Keeper) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden - Sex Drive) from their sleep. When they went down to investigate Norma finds a package on the doorstep and a car pulling away. As they open the box with their son they find another box in side with a red button on top along with a note saying that they will be paid a visit by Arlington Steward (Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon). What they come to learn is that if they chose to press the button they will receive $1 million but the consequence is that someone they don't know will be killed. With their son's tuition fees going up and Arthur having been dropped from astronaut training it is a moral dilemma for them.

I have been putting off watching "The Box" for a while because it is directed by Richard Kelly who directed "Donnie Darko" a movie which despite having tried to watch numerous times found it to out there for my tastes. But eventually curiosity got the better of me and I am unsurprised to say that I am completely conflicted by what I have just watched, or sat through might be a better term of phrase for "The Box".

James Marsden in The Box (2009)

Now I like the initial concept, the moral dilemma of causing someone to die in return for $1 million especially as you will have no idea as to who it is you have killed by simply pressing a button. This idea on its own is right up my street as it examines the conflict of emotions over instant wealth and murder of an unknown along with the psychological ramifications of pressing the button.

But then there is shall we say the Richard Kelly aspect of the movie and without telling you too much we have a clubbed foot, a face disfigured by burns, rocket science, sci-fi and some spectacular camera techniques. Now individually all these elements are fantastic from the first time we see the clubbed foot, which trust me has an out there explanation, to the first time we see the man with half his face missing thanks to burns. But when all these things combine they lead us on a merry dance, a curiously intriguing merry dance but not one which necessarily works for the good of the movie as a whole.

The good news is that whilst all the components of the movie don't work together the fact we have a recognizable and likeable cast certainly helps matters. So that means whilst many of the characters are a little too odd the fact we have Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella and James Rebhorn makes it still watchable.

What this all boils down to is that "The Box" is a curious movie, a seriously curious movie which as a whole didn't do it for me. But all the individual components are themselves curiously interesting and as meandering movie which goes off on tangents it is strangely entertaining.

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