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La boîte noire
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Black Box More at IMDbPro »La boîte noire (original title)

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Visually stunning

7/10
Author: incitatus-org from Paris
4 September 2006

Tearing down a coastal lane, Arthur flies out of the bend only to open his eyes again in hospital. While he was out cold, his unconscious spoke, revealing his hidden self as an emotional Pandora's box. In a dreamy, confused state he battles absurdity to unravel a lingering, youthful trauma.

Visually stunning and cut at video-clip speed, you are in for quite a rush of a film. Oscillating between captivating and horrific, "The Black Box" is really well made. There are countless little examples of beautiful attention to detail scattered around. No doubt because of this attention to detail, the imperfections reveal themselves as well, but they are forgivable. But not all missteps are.

Most importantly, the story-line is not good enough. The film can get away with a somewhat flimsy story for a good hour because of the captivating presentation, but towards the end, it is almost impossible not to be disappointed by the simplistic wrap-up. A real shame, considering the effort which went into this production. Do not hesitate to watch it none the less, as you will be rewarded with plenty an attentive detail and good use of imagery with the unfortunately paranoid José Garcia stuck in the middle.

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19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Superficial psycho thriller

6/10
Author: guy-bellinger (guy.bellinger@wanadoo.fr) from Montigny-lès-Metz, France
18 November 2005

Good beginning: a car that drives too fast along a narrow winding coastal road. The viewer expects an accident, and after a while, it happens. The driver (we still do not know who that is) couldn't escape his fate.

Next, the viewer (who once again is put in the hero's place) finds himself lying helplessly in a hospital bed, in a state of mental confusion, assailed by blurry visions ans disjointed sounds.

Unfortunately the rest of the film, although reasonably intriguing throughout, is a disappointment. Not that it is not well made. On the contrary, Richard Berry works hard at creating an unsettling atmosphere, resorting to nearly all the visual and sound effects existing. The real trouble is his naive approach to psychoanalysis. Just like in those old-fashioned Hollywood psycho thrillers of the 1940's and 50's, he tries to explain everything. In the course of his investigation Arthur manages to figure out ALL THE CODED MESSAGES his brain has been sending him during his coma. He identifies the source of his trauma and now he can live happily ever after! Oh, I wish reality was like in those pictures. You feel bad mentally, so just consult a shrink and sooner or later you will be cured. But I do not think the things of the brain are so square, so well-organized, so mechanical. To make matters worse the final explanation is outright ridiculous. While the credits roll, disappointment sets in.

Luckily you are not aware of all this while you are watching the movie due to the careful direction of Berry, the intense performance of José Garcia and wonderful character actors by the name of Michel Duchaussoy (as the elderly ailing father) and in dual roles the excellent Gérald Laroche and Bernard Le Coq.

Good time guaranteed before you realize how shallow all this is.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing Mind Games with Disappointing and Predictable Conclusion

6/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
25 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While driving in a winding narrow road, Arthur Seligman (José Garcia) has an accident and capsizes with his car and awakes from a short coma in a hospital in Cherbourg. With amnesia and without recalling why he left Paris, Arthur is informed by the nurse Isabelle Kruger (Marion Cotillard) that he had spoken lots of senseless sentences and she gives her notes to him. Arthur reads the disjointed sentences and many images flash in his brain while he tries to find his missing brother, using drugs and psychiatric treatment in his investigation. Suddenly, his reality changes to another one, and Arthur discloses innermost secrets hidden in his mind since his childhood and finds the truth about his brother and himself.

"La Boîte Noire" has a great initial sequence, with Arthur's accident, and is intriguing. Unfortunately, the predictable conclusion is very disappointing. This movie and "The Jacket" (of the same year – 2005) are rip-off of Adrian Lyne's "Jacob's Ladder" (1990). The performance of José Garcia in the role of a paranoid character is great and the cinematography is very above the average, showing the pace of a video clip. In the end, this film is a reasonable entertainment. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Caixa Preta" ("Black Box")

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Back to the forties

Author: dbdumonteil
1 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Richard Berry is a talented actor.Directing a movie is different matter. Not that "la Boite Noire" is totally devoid of interest.The metaphor of the "black box" is a good idea:after a wreck on the highway en route to Cherbourg such a comparison makes sense: the lapses of memory ,and the "three " personalities inside every human being (the one we know,the one we think we know,and the one we do not know ,eg the famous black box or the subconscious ) are intriguing .

But what lies beneath ,in spite of the "modern style" (that is to say special effects aplenty ),this film reminds me of the American forties films noirs,with its psychoanalysis and its childhood traumas (see Lang,Tourneur, Litvak ,Hitchcock and countless others).The ending is disappointing for it takes the easy way out :the whodunit is completely unlikely.

Marion Cotillard is as good as ever but why does she play two parts?And that's not much of a part ,anyway, it sometimes seems that she's here to fill the quota of eroticism.Also notable is Chabrol's former favorite,Michel Duchaussoy ,as the father.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good thriller, but tails off at the end

7/10
Author: paulk_x from Australia
19 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Black Box is an engaging thriller, which grabs you right from the beginning with a car crash and has all the right plot elements. The problem is, as the other reviewer said, the finale is quite disappointing and leaves many questions unanswered.

Following his crash, Arthur Seligman is confronted with a wide variety of fragments from his subconscious and sets out to piece them together. What follows is an unnerving, inventive psychological journey that shares the paranoia and confusion of David Lynch with a suitably gritty, noir-like cinematography.

Yet the denouement neatly discards all the mysteries of the film and dismisses the loose ends of the multiple deaths, the police investigation and the questions thrown up from his subconscious.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

No Way, Jose

6/10
Author: writers_reign
7 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Richard Berry is a fine actor who has directed six films to date, one of which, Moi Cesar, was a popular success and a fine study of childhood. A couple of years ago on the Paris stage I saw him play the Lino Ventura role in L'Emmerdeur opposite Patrick Timsit and I'm happy to say that both actors appear in the remake, now in the cutting room with writer Francis Veber once more at the helm. La Boite Noir is something of a disappointment; it's not so much that the premise is hardly new - victim of amnesia needs to solve the odd mystery or two before he can move on - Mank's Somewhere In The Night in 1948 is a good example of the genre - as that Berry fails to find anything new to explore and there are many finer actors around than Jose Garcia. Marion Cotillard turns in one of the best performances and this might well be reissued in the wake of her clean sweep of Best Actress Awards for La Mome. Interesting but flawed just about covers it.

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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

No Time No Space

10/10
Author: JustApt from Russian Federation, Ivanovo
28 October 2009

A man gets a brain trauma in a car crash and as a result he is amnesiac; a nurse gives him a notebook telling him that while delirious he's said many strange things which came straight from his subconscious self, his black box and she's scribbled his words into this pad so it will help him to recover his memory. In this way his fragmentary and manic mental journey through his past begins: "Like a rat in a trap I'll be waiting for you. Taking punches for kicks I'll be bait for the kill. Was it all in my head, did you know all along that it's just you and me – we're against the world." – These song lines describe his cerebral voyage best. Visual array of The Black Box is of the kind I like best too: disconnectedly modernistic and fabulously surrealistic – in the finest way.

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2 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Berry give us a poor movie, badly directed...but with, as usual, a good performance for Garcia.

4/10
Author: SamBennardo from Liège, Belgium
16 May 2006

Neither thriller (or very poor), nor fantastic (or missing the point), nor absolutely nothing maybe hardly an involuntary turnip...

It's beautiful to care about the shape of a picture, it's even great when we make it well and the greatest stuff it's when we've got a rather solid story... now it's not the case here, the shape is soooo bad, traveling used like amateur, pretty bad effects (see it to believe), overbids of camera movements, thanks to the director for the bad use of the provided means. When you try to make a Fincher's like, well you put all your guts in it, or do it à la classical way, we even have difficulty in being moved by the loud failure at the box office, at least the producers will think twice before giving money to Berry, especially when he tries to put on life a story so stupid. The whole would have been able to make a parody of Lynch but not at all, just a poor story too conventional, it tries to make too much with the heaviness of an elephant, let us not forget the flat and phoned development and you see them coming like hurricane, sterile intrigue with no big sense but the best is the funny finale, just stupid and miserable. I can't imagine how hard the scriptwriter of Memento will laugh by looking this failure. The themes and their so-called symbolism (such as the guilt and love) are treated without sharpness with " the elegance of a bulldozer ", all themes giving without any serious psychology, it's like heard some people at the counter of a pub on a Saturday night. We shall note Garcia's fine interpretation, a baaad from Cotillard (as usual, bah, when we aren't an actress it's more difficult) and poor Lecoq who, no chance buddy, had to play an improbable and ridiculous character.

This gives a bad B movies to put in "nanards"(ridiculous movies) of a conceited French cinema more and more sterile by trying to give itself some effects but finish like pure garbage.

what a waste of time and money

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