Friday, June 4, 2010
(Note: Reviewflix posts are going to be my attempts at reviewing my recent viewing exploits from netflix, whether they be viewed instantly through my 360 or delivered to my door. For those of you with a netlfix account the title of this post also links to this films entry on there. Also, this just in I sold out to netflix, now on with the review.)
“What’s in the box?” - Detective David Mills
When I first read the premise of “The Box” and saw the trailer for it I thought there goes another film I won’t check out in theaters but will someday check out in the comfort of my own home. Fast forward a short seven months later and here we are me just having completed the film and kicking myself for not having seen it in the theater. I let things like Cameron Diaz starring and the sub-par trailer push the film to the back burner while conveniently forgetting the items of note that should have forced me to see it day one, namely Richard Kelly writing and directing as well as it being based on a short story by Richard Matheson. (Kelly wrote and directed two other films I really enjoyed “Donnie Darko” and “Southland Tales” while Matheson wrote the novel version of “I Am Legend” and some other cool short stories.) But enough about when and why I checked out the film lets get to the heart of the matter.
The Box has a relatively simple premise. There is a husband and wife who are presented with a unique box containing a button. Should they push the button, someone they don’t know will die and they will receive 1 million dollars; Should they not push the button, nothing will happen. There you go, a premise almost as simple as pushing a button. (I somewhat specialize in lame jokes.) While it might not initially sound like the most thrilling film, consider for a moment two things, Reasons and Consequences. Why am I being given this choice? Who are the people making this offer? Will I be the same person whether I push the button, and am somewhat responsible for someone’s death, or don’t push the button, and now have the knowledge that this choice is available to other people? Ponder these questions while viewing and I think you might just be glued to your seat like I was. I don’t want to go much more into the story suffice to say that it is an enjoyable psychological thriller in the truest sense, which almost always means the less you know about it going in the better.
The technical aspects of the films also do not disappoint. The camera draws the eye right where it needs to be and leaves you distant and wondering at all the appropriate moments. Pacing is near perfect with not lingering to long any one scene with out a purpose behind it, and while the almost two hour length of the film sounds like to much for the story it ends up being just right. The effects may not be the greatest but are believable and suffice for the film. All of which are becoming staples in Kelly’s works, leaving me anxiously awaiting his next work. There were some flaws to the film however.
Most of the actors in this film were great in their roles, the only problem was that the two main actors were not. James Marsden as the Husband was just ok. Some of his emotional scenes were a bit weaker than I would have liked but he still held his, Cameron Diaz on the other hand did not. My pre-conceptions could be leaking in here but I haven’t thought Cameron Diaz was really good in any role since “The Mask”. Her emotions seemed so forced and her look and attempted accent really seemed to clash with other aspects of the film but even this could not lower the film to much.
If you get the chance I highly recommend checking out The Box, it might just surprise you. So add it your netflix queue, borrow it from that friend who has a ton of movies, or keep and eye out for it in the bargain bin. Overall I give it 4 out of 5 stars (going with the netflix system, since I am most used to it). Agree/Disagree? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Constructive criticism on the blog in general is also welcomed and encouraged.