Monday, March 29, 2010

The Box - DVD Review


Starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella, James Rebhorn, Holmes Osbourne, Sam Oz Stone and Celia Weston.
Directed by Richard Kelly.

The trailer may have looked like a conventional twist on a Twilight Zone episode, based on the short story "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson, but this movie quickly reminds us that it is Richard Kelly directing, and he's the one who made Donnie Darko and Southland Tales. I remember liking Donnie Darko at the time, and Southland Tales was a gigantic failure with one-and-a-half cool scenes. This movie demonstrates Richard Kelly still hasn't got all the Southland Tales weirdness out of his system.

A mysterious man arrives at a house in 1976. He has a box. The box has a button. The couple in the house has 24 hours to decide if they want to push the button. If they do, someone they don't know will die, but they will receive $1 million. If you take the first 45 minutes and the last 10 minutes, you have a pretty decent movie. Then there's this other hour in there of nonsense, most likely around aliens but it's difficult to be certain with Richard Kelly.

I liked that it took place in 1976, a more paranoid time, the decade of The Exorcist, The Wicker Man, and The Omen. But does anyone know what it means when James Marsden walks into that cube of water, and then that cube appears floating above Cameron Diaz's bed? Is the mute Santa Claus on the side of the road supposed to be scary?

Diaz's Virginian accent comes and goes. It seems to get thicker when the plot makes sense, then it fades as though the actress herself is confused what's happening.

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