REVIEW: The Box

8 04 2010

There was one thing that struck me immediately when I started watching “The Box“: it’s one of the most over-directed movies I have ever seen.  It’s like the little kid who puts shaving cream on his face and thinks he is just like his dad.  With all the ominous music and long, drawn-out shots, Richard Kelly has convinced himself that he has made “The Shining.”  But he is no Stanley Kubrick, and “The Box” is no “The Shining.”  In fact, the movie dabbles its toes in so many different genres that we can never be quite sure exactly what it wants to be.

Is it a mystery?  Well, the insane predictability of the script prevents us from ever really wondering what’s going to happen.  But even if you put that aside, “The Box” is about as subtle as a shotgun in a schoolyard.  All of the symbolism (NASA?  Sartre and “No Exit?”) is so obvious that it sucks any suspense out of the movie.

Is it science-fiction?  Well, the movie works in some sci-fi elements, but they are incorporated as oddly and awkwardly as the aliens in the fourth “Indiana Jones” movie.  I would have been so happy had “The Box” just stuck to analyzing the morality and ethics of pressing a button that gives you a million dollars at the cost of a random person’s life.

Is it horror?  It so desperately wants to be, but the only thing that scared me was the scorched side of Frank Langella’s face, which looks like a half-assed Two-Face.  And even that didn’t really scare me, per se, so much as it gave me a few chills.

Is it a thriller?  Any chance I had at being “thrilled” went out the window after about 10 minutes when I realized that the sluggish pace wasn’t going to let up.  And at all the potential moments of exhilaration, I was too busy ridiculing what I had just seen.

While being none of these things, “The Box” actually manages to be quite a good comedy.  It’s pretty hard not to get a good chuckle out of Cameron Diaz’s horrendous Southern accent, which manages to make Sandra Bullock’s “The Blind Side” dialect seem completely natural.  The movie takes itself way too seriously, and that often leads to some good comedy.  The dialogue is so ridiculous that it becomes quite hilarious, particularly when Diaz delivers it.  But even as a comedy, “The Box” is still a pratfall, just like it is as any other genre.  C- /


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One response

11 04 2010
Ross McG

I actually enjoyed it. Sometimes its good to watch a film where you havent a fecking clue what the hell is going on

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