Film Review The Box
Director: Richard Kelly (2009)
Let me begin with an unprofessional request, would the next girl who breaks up with me and then leaves it for me to arrange to collect my stuff, please remember that she’s arranged for me to collect my stuff, and not try and pawn me off with HONEY!
And now I shall put my serious cap on and review The Box, which incidentally, is slang in Australia for Vagina, speaking of which, hey girl who tried to give me honey, if you’re reading this, I faked every orgasm.
Sorry I accidently put my Leslie Neilson naked gun quote cap on, one moment,
Ok, serious cap is on, right The Vagina, I mean The Box;
What would you do if someone gave you a button, and told you that if you pushed it you’d receive a million dollars, but that a stranger would die? It’s an interesting concept, and made for an interesting Twilight Zone episode, and for a nice short film on YouTube called Black Button which I urge any prospective filmmaker to watch. What it did not make, is an enjoyable feature starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden.
The problem with The Box is that this really is a one trick pony, there’s nowhere to go once (and this should be a spoiler but think about it logically and it really isn’t) the button’s been pushed, except trying to explain what the button is, and that should take about five minutes at best. In The Box, the Australian slang for vagina gets pushed about twenty minutes in, and then, well there’s something about school children, possession, lightening, samples from mars, old photographs, astronauts, water, missing feet, a library, a baby-sitter with a fake I.D, NASA, Homeland Security, religion and a shitload of water. There’s probably more to that list, but the important thing to remember is all that stuff is designed to help explain a magic box that gives you a moral dilemma.
Explaining the origins of the box isn’t enough to stretch out the feature so all this inane stuff gets implemented to try and make a story, we get what happens to you after you push the button, what happens to your family members once you’ve pushed the button, what the government would do after you’ve pushed the button, what would happen if random people started having nose bleeds, possibly because you pushed the button. None of it needed, and none of it particularly interesting.
I’ll give a practical example. At some point, post Australian slang for vagina being pushed, our heroes find themselves in a library, Cameron Diaz has a sit down interview with the bringer of the box, Mr Steward (a wonderful Frank Langella), while James Marsden has to decide which of three squares filled with water he’d like to walk into, with 2 out of 3 being a gateway to hell. Why he has to decide this is never explained, but he decides, walks into one and disappears. What’s the next cut? Cameron Diaz laying on her bed, James Marsden floating above her in a pool of mysteriously held up water, gravity suddenly comes back into existence, the two get drenched, their incredibly annoying brat rushes up stairs, asks what happened, is told nothing, and then these events are never discussed again. Genuinely, the water, the library, all just arbitrarily thrown in because every important plot point has occurred within the first twenty-one minutes and Australian slang for vagina needs to pad itself out to the conclusion.
It’s a massive shame, because both Diaz and Marsden are actually pretty none-religiously damned good in this film. The Box could have been to Diaz what Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind was to Carrey, and Marsden shows he can be more than just a crap one dimensional Clark Kent. Unfortunately, acting competence was up against Richard Kelly who seems to need complications in his movies. I’ll never cast aspersions on his genius, if I ever do I give anyone reading this permission to slap me across my fat 8 chinned smug face with a copy of Donnie Darko, but in The Box Mr Kelly completely missed the boat.
The Box should never have been about the box, it should have been about the people who pushed the box. Cameron Diaz has a fake foot, and James Marsden works at freakin NASA, it should have been a human interest story about a happy couple in the 1970’s, dealing with issues of the day and their feelings to each other. The pushing of the button should have been a catalyst for changes within their own psyche, maybe driving a wedge between them as one becomes liberated while the other deals with guilt. Instead we get some shit about Frank Langella being hit by Mars lightening.
So, to close, the box is crap, Australian slang is weird and a certain girl can go choke on her honey.
Written By Sam ‘I should never have left her the fancy soy sauce’ McKinstrie
Unnecessarily on twitter as McKinstHFP
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