Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ticket Stubs: The Box

If I write this review, two things will happen. One: someone somewhere in the world who I probably know will roll their eyes at this introduction. Two: I will receive one million dollars courtesy of Now this could all be a bluff, an empty box if you will. Nothing may happen, but there’s still that thought in the back of your head that it could. It seems like a short puzzle, but curiosity will still remain after a decision is made. Is this really the end of the line? What poor souls have to have to be the ones to roll their eyes? Who is making this offer? Surely not MovieSet; I’m sure they doubt my employment with every review I turn in.

For the one of you who is confused, I’m talking about Richard Kelly’s latest mind-melter, The Box. In this film, the stakes are slightly raised with having a random person die instead of having to endure the uncomfortableness of suffering through a mediocre joke. However, the questions remain the same. The moral puzzle can only last so long, but Kelly creates a fun atmosphere by using those remaining questions to create this crazy-awesome sci-fi tale. Viewers of Donnie Darko know that Kelly is not interested in conventional tales. They also know he’s into water movement and this movie has both of those quirks.

In the same vein as a show like LOST, The Box toys with its supernatural quandaries in an addicting fashion. Not all of the solutions are extremely satisfying, but the film surprised me how often it made me reexamine the ethics of the initial premise. It’s not often you see such an interesting examination of altruism in today’s society, even if the film is set in the 1970s. Especially an examination that involves…nope, I’m not going to spoil it.

The film is not perfect, but if you embrace the madness of the plot it’s worth your time. Everyone involves seems to be entirely with it. James Marsden, Cameron Diaz, and Frank Langella all admirably ground the movie with their believable performances of the characters’ struggles. Yes even Diaz, who I sincerely believe can not read, delivers a performance that is not distracting and—dare I say!—competent. Not since Being John Malkovich have I been able to look at her and say “That wasn’t bad.” So clearly she needs to stick with movies where she cannot comprehend the plot.

Proper writing structure suggests that I return to the gimmick in the first paragraph as a bookend, but that premise was questioning whether or not I write a review. I wrote it. Clearly, this is the final paragraph. So instead of professionally concluding a review, I’ll just provide this link to a brilliant parody of The Box. Enjoy:

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