Running Time: 1 hr. 56 min.
Release Date: November 6th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, some violence and disturbing images.
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Directed by: Richard Kelly
JJ Rating: B+
A family falls on hard times with money and they are given a ‘rare’ opportunity to get a million dollars. All they have to do is press a button. The catch? Well someone will die, but they don’t know the person nor do they know how the person will die. Simple set up, but not so simple aftermath. The Box.
The stunning thing about The Box is the set design. I was thoroughly amazed with the work of every single scene’s set. It’s rather eye catching. I’m not one to notice such because one I’ve never done it and two it doesn’t really interest me. I do think that it is important but it’s not something I know a whole lot about. The main couple’s house is stunning for simple reasons like wallpaper and the way the furniture just looked. Then there’s the added touch to what time it was. The date was stated but everything from the way people did their hair to the way they dress to what was on TV in the background matched that time. It was good and if anything the art design team should be nominated for an Oscar for those sets or for picking great locations for shots which would be totally different are all together (again not my forte). If that is something you’re interested in I would say that that is one good reason to see this film because it’s all the way through – every single scene is fantastic because of that work.
I was very iffy about seeing this film because the critics (most of them but one: Flimcritic.com) were really panning it for many reasons. I think they had a hard time dealing with Carmon Diaz in a very serious roll. I would have to say that it was hard to see her be so serious and I think she does need to work on it a little more to refine it. She was toeing the line between too serious and funny sounding and very good serious with great dramatic flare. Sad to say that Sam Oz (who played the son) was doing a far better job at it than her, so I would say less is more. I think that it’s possible for her to do well, but since we’re so use to seeing her do comedic roles it’s hard to see past that unless she does an outstanding job (which I think she did a good job in My Sister’s Keeper). James Marsden is talented and he’s not just talented in a way that’ll get him an Oscar just once and then he does a string of a bunch of disappoints (Halle Berry), but he’ll do it with something that’ll prove on a larger scale that he is a great actor. What he has going for him is that he doesn’t stick to one type of movie and his characters are not always the main focus or the brightest or even the most loved. His diversity is a main reason why I can see how incredibly talented he is.
The story for The Box was very good. It’s why I stayed attentive the entire film. I had read a review stating that maybe people didn’t like it because they had a hard time figuring out what was going on. People do dislike being left in the dark especially when the credits roll and they are still lost in what they had just seen. One of the clues to what goes on in a story like this is held in what they discuss in the film like a play or a novel. Those things are a huge clue as to the film as a whole is or it’s trying to accomplish. Just like in horror movies when it’s the janitor or the gravedigger that knows about what’s going on enough to be cryptic to those that need a straight forward answer. I liked totally not getting what was going on because the film slowly revealed (but at a fast pace) why certain things were going on. Spending time trying to figure out what was going on before the film was over is too distracting from the intent on seeing a movie and that is for entertainment.
Was I entertained? Yes. Did it get me thinking? Yes. Is it a film I would recommend? No. If you are adamant about seeing The Box you should keep in mind that you may not get it by the time it is over. I could tell you the whole film and it wouldn’t ruin much. You most likely still wouldn’t get what was going on in its entirety. I’m really ready for 2012 because I’m up for some mindless entertainment.
The Box isn’t like its title. It’s not contained. It’s far reaching and it goes everywhere at once and expecting to force it to focus to give you a straight answer as to what the hell had gone on ain’t gonna happen. Know it for what it’ll give you a wonderful visual extravaganza with some meaningful flare (acting) here and there, but when you rip off the visual wrapping paper and get to what’s gifted (the meaning) inside don’t be disappointed when all you see is an empty box with a note that says: Think About It.