Monday, 5 July 2010

The Box DVD Review

Upon hearing about the concept of this film, I was immediately intrigued and followed it up till its release. Unfortunately I did not manage to see the film at the cinema but got it on DVD and finally watched it!

The design of the DVD is really nothing special and features Cameron Diaz in the centre, whilst Frank Lagella and James Marsden are in the shade to her left and right. It is quite a dark cover but does come across as intriguing, and I like how the actual DVD box is in red plastic! Overall a simple yet effective cover!

I can't give away too much of the plot due to the nature of the film, but basically, Norma Lewis (Cameron Diaz) receives a mysterious box and a proposal. If she presses the button, someone she does not know will die, but she will get $1 million. The film follows her drastic decisions and the consequences her family must face in a confusing ride with extreme results.

I have read some reviews before seeing this and yes, from what I got, many people do not understand the film and was confused. Having seen it, I can honestly agree with the level of confusion this film gives out. However, it is this same confusion that makes this film superb.

Firstly, the simple idea of a box, a difficult decision and extreme consequences is enough to drive this thriller. What Richard Kelly adds to such simple formula is a complexity also found in his first "hit", Donnie Darko. The themes that are subtly placed in the film include religion (idea of Adam and Eve, Sin, afterlife), Sci-Fi (Altruism, Aliens) and Philosophy (fate, freewill); plus many other additional points of interest. There is great debate as to what this film really wants to bring out, and the negative reviews seem to be that there is no conclusion to any of the questions.

However, I think that is the whole point of the film. Quote: "Your home is a box. Your car is a box on wheels. You drive to work in it. You drive home in it. You sit in your home, staring into a box. It erodes your soul, while the box that is your body inevitably withers... then dies. Where upon it is placed in the ultimate box, to slowly decompose." The idea that we no longer think for ourselves and just get fed information is key. Why do we need a conclusive end when we can use our own interpretation to take what we want from the movie?

Overall, the film provided enough intrigue to last, although it was rather slow to start. I liked the simplicity of the beginning and the couple's struggle to press the button or not. The complexity immediately builds into something that the average person cannot comprehend. Personally, I think the vagueness is deliberate, and definitely adds to the film, although many will not like it as it is. Another thing is the ending. Many have criticised the final decision the couple makes as illogical and stupid. What would happen if they chose the other option? A question arises. Could they have made the choice? Was it fate?

Anyhow, the film was much better than Donnie Darko in my opinion and is worth another watch just to pick out all the hidden themes and make it what I think it is... although if you're really stuck, there are several online forums that talk about the meaning of the film which may help guide you to your own conclusion.

Cameron Diaz- Norma Lewis
Frank Lagella- Arlington Steward
James Marsden- Arthur Lewis

Cameron Diaz was unfortunately miscast in this movie as Norma Lewis. She just isn't one for serious roles. Her accent was inconsistent and very forced which at times annoyed, but overall, acceptable given the circumstances.

James Marsden wasn't really given a big role and he didn't really have scenes where he shone. His emotional extremity was only shown at the end, by which it was perhaps too late.

Frank Lagella was sublime in playing the freaky Arlington Steward. His aura, tone of voice and stance was everything the role could be and he was definitely the one to watch in this movie. Despite his scariness, you wanted to see more of him.

There are a range of extra features on this DVD:

-Director's Commentary
-The Box: Grounded in Reality
-Matheson: In his own words
-Music Video Prequels
-Special Effects

Confusing yet thrilling, The Box explodes of excitement and psychological tension whilst urging thought and intrigue. Despite the slow start, the film is quick to pick up pace and develop into a complex, non-linear storyline that leaves an ending open to interpretation.

For those of you who liked Donnie Darko, this is one for you, with even more mysterious themes and interpretive conclusions, although this film is definitely not for everyone...

Be warned. Anyone who watches this is bound to be confused. Watch at your own risk!


  1. 向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

  2. 噴泉的高度,不會超過它的源頭。一個人的事業也是如此,它的成就絕不會超過自己的信念。.................................................................


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