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:: The Box

There is a lot resting on the release of ‘The Box’… to be blunt one man’s career rests on whether this movie does well. If it flops then director, Richard Kelly will be known as the one-hit wonder who had a hit with the film ‘Donnie Darko’; but if it does well then we will all forget about his last film, ‘Southland Tales’ and just forget that it ever happened. I can only offer my point of view but I seriously think Kelly redeems himself with ‘The Box’. Hollywood hasn’t produced a film like this for a while, and the only question is how will the audience take the experimental feel to the film.

‘The Box’ pulls no punches. Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden), along with their son, Walter (Sam Oz Stone) are a family that live from paycheck-to-paycheck. All very fine until the day that Norma is told that Walter’s school fees will rise sharply and Arthur learns that he isn’t getting the promotion he is expected to get. They are then visited by a scarred stranger, Arlington Steward (Frank Langella) who leaves them with a box with a button in it. He then explains to Norma that at any time during a 24 hour period she can press the button and will be instantly given one million dollars… the only catch is that someone they don’t know will die at the same time. When Norma and Arthur work out it isn’t a hoax they must decide whether their conscience will let them press the button, and what other consequences may arise if they do.

What Kelly has managed to produce here is a highly intelligent film. ‘The Box’ seems to drift between genres with absolute ease. It has all the elements of a thriller but mixes it was sci-fi in the same way classics such as ‘White Noise’ and ‘The Ring’ have in the past. True cinema lovers will see this as an absolute classic while some of the ‘popcorn set’ maybe left scratching their heads as they try to figure what is happening in front of them. The good thing is though Kelly does a wonderful job spelling the storyline out for the audience without you ever thinking that you are watching a ‘how-to’ guide.

My one hesitation before going into this film was that I felt it may have been mis-cast… but I’m happy to admit that I was totally wrong. Cameron Diaz laps up the chance to play a serious role, and after a good performance in ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ earlier this year you have to wonder if she has finally decided to turn her back on comedies… I can only hope that she has. She does a wonderful job with the role at hand, despite the fact it wasn’t exactly an easy one. I also had reservations about James Marsden playing her husband as I thought he was too young for the role. But he steps up amazingly and they come off as quite a believable couple.

‘The Box’ is the film that I have waited all year to see. It’s intense drama and good characterisation lifts it above your standard sci-fi-thriller. While it doesn’t reach the lofty heights of ‘Donnie Darko’ it has indeed proven that Richard Kelly is one of the most talented directors going around. ‘The Box’ is set to become a cult classic.