Norma and Arthur Lewis, 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. However, 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.
Directed by: Richard Kelly
. Starring: Cameron Diaz
, James Marsden
, Frank Langella
, James Rebhorn
, Holmes Osborne
, Sam Oz Stone
, Gillian Jacobs
, Celia Weston
, Deborah Rush
, Lisa K. Wyatt
, Mark S. Cartier
, Kevin Robertson
, Michele Durrett
. Music by: Win Butler
, Régine Chassagne
, Owen Pallett
This movie found the best mysterious first half, then the worst dumb second half. At first I felt; OK, this is a prodigious work; with enigmatic question at every half of minute, haunting puzzle, thrill underneath everything, it makes you glued to your seat, focused to the max, dying for an answer. Then, in the second half; God, I felt nothing but stupid!
So (Arlington Steward), after being stricken by lighting, became superhuman messenger holy punisher of the human desires!! It was never told he works for whom? (God?, Aliens?, Savile Row tailors?!). He acts like a god; seeing and hearing everybody everywhere all the time! Well, Boo-Hoo, I didn't buy any of that!
Then, a long chain of unstoppable laughs: The husband chose number 2, which meant being showered by water over his sleeping wife in bed (sexual hint? or one of the most pointless hallucinations in movie history?!). What that so-called choice said about anything?! The father-in-law had, suddenly, some money to throw big parties; so did he push the button? (that was left unexplained, to be later rather unnecessary). The nanny talks in absolutely funny puns "you have blood on your hands!", "somebody pushing your buttons?!"; it seemed like something in the need of (Jack Black) to perform, with a lot of gazing, nodding, and saying Hmmm! That (Steward) loves dealing with the employees of NASA in specific (I thought it a revenge story, or was it?!). The 2 NASA executives talk about the matter of (Steward)'s death after being hit by lighting, while they're in the same place of that death, under lighting too (this is ladies and gentlemen what I call: Comedy!).
Questions: What's the son's role else getting to sleep in repeated shots?! If (Steward) has all of these superpowers, with no aging cells, how he can't cure his face out of that deformity he has?! Basically, what that deformity has to do with anything??! If shooting his wife, or (Steward), would lead the husband to jail, why he didn't kill them both?! (I needed that to free some of my negative feelings towards the movie anyway!!). Why it takes place in the 1970s? What's the point of that else making a different atmosphere?! The various information, about the trip to Mars then landing on it, don't stop throughout the whole movie, even in the radio of the soon-to-be crushed car before the climax. What was the point of that??! The provocative waiter does the sign of peace. Why?! What was the point of that either?!
Actually, there is no point but making a new horror to entertain you, whether that produced something "really" entertaining, or not. Solid, or not. Meaningful, or not. Though, at least it's not a remake, sequel, or easy slasher. It's "Based on a short story"; which is something I was about to despair of lately, since reading it on a Hollywood movie, not to mention a Horror, became extremely rare, if not finished, in the last decade!
The movie managed, in the first half, to be compressively disturbing and decently creepy. I loved how every detail was given incomplete (photos, background, bodies..), or how the leads were being chased by a weird monstrous guilt. Yet, the cinematography made just warm image. I didn't feel the connection of it with the total spirit; I felt only an old book, with yellow pages. Maybe "yellow" was the movie's interpretation of anxiety or compunction.
Despite the botox, or the plastic surgeries, or the early aging, or whatever happened to her once cute face, (Cameron Diaz) was charismatic. During the first half, her calling for some of the infantile reactions (of non-understanding, wonderment, and hankering after a goal without paying attention to consequences) was memorable and so into-the-point. Unfortunately, she was imprisoned later in that strange script, with no, or no respectable enough, material to act! Conversely, (James Marsden) was a major let-down. Regarding that you don't need a lot of "acting capacities" in a movie of that kind, then (Marsden) didn't have the required charisma either, especially in (Diaz)'s presence where he, and us, lived unfair irony. He looked so small in his 70s suits, not owning the screen in any of his shots. Basically (Marsden) suffers -' in nearly all of his movies -' that problem of having a forever smiley face; as if his career is one long toothpaste ad! Now it's sad to see that his seriousness wasn't interesting at all. (Frank Langella) hit the mark as dark and vague envoy. Along with the too elegant look, the laconic lines that he was given-'his unchangeable, so confident, voice tone, sedate calmness, deep utterance.. all fitted perfectly, creating a mix of practical businessman, hypnotizing salesman, and sublime philosopher. But sorry, I found none of his storyline, dialog, character believable. Not his fault for sure.
If this movie's aim was making money instead of more than a true meaning, then it has to be cursed, exactly like the movie's leads whom preferred money over life. It could be why Hollywood producers got carried away to make The Box in the first place; it's about them, as slaves for The Box.
Review by ahmed elshikh from the Internet Movie Database.