Norma and Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child, receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. However, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world, someone they don't know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the cross-hairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity. Written by
Warner Bros. Pictures
"To understand 'The Box,' you'll have to think outside of the box."
I'm not gonna lie. To say that this movie is confusing is like saying the sun is hot but not really. And if you've seen cult director Richard Kelly's previous films, "Donnie Darko" and "Southland Tales," you know that's gotta mean something. When I went to see this movie, there were about 50 people in the theater. Before an hour into the film, about half of the audience had already walked out. By the end, there were only 15 people left wondering what in the hell did they just see. I for one could only comprehend roughly 40% of what I saw on- screen, and even then it can only be called interpretation. So why did I give this movie a generous seven stars? Because for one, we get some spectacular performances (Marsden's great and Langella returns as a familiar creepy character), and most importantly two, because it's entirely original and Richard Kelly, undoubtedly one of the bravest directors alive, uses his creative vision to tell a story that dares to be different. Quite frankly, it's the ONLY way - only through Kelly's unique style could this story be told the way it's intended.
In the end, if you're not willing to spend some serious thought into an intelligent movie (and even then it may all amount to nothing), stay FAR away from this one. But if you want to watch a deep, rich, complex and thought-provoking piece on spirituality, existentialism, and the predictability of human nature, go see this. Be prepared for lengthy discussions with your partner however.
*Note: If by chance you've read this review, taken my recommendation, have actually seen the movie and STILL believe you've wasted 2 hours of your life, I'd be happy to share my views on the whole meaning and plot of the film. See, that's why I liked it so much - it promotes discussion! As hard as it is though, I'll try summing it up by paraphrasing a rather depressing quote by Langella's character, who explains the significance of the simple box to an employee: "Your house is a box which you live in. The car that you drove to work is a box, on wheels. When you return home from work you sit in front of a box with moving images. You watch until the mind and soul rots and the box that is your body deteriorates, when finally you are placed into the ultimate box... to rest under the soil and earth."
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