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The Box

Director Richard Kelly's strange 2009 science fiction film loosely based on a Richard Matheson story.

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The Box... busted wide open

  • May 20, 2011

Wednesday, November 4 was the premiere of The Box in NYC. I had seen many trailers for the film and had made up my mind that this would be one that I would spend the money to see in theaters. The story looked interesting and the trailer planted a question so deep into my mind that I felt I needed to find out the answer. However, after seeing the film I now have even more questions than answers and it feels exhilarating.

I left work last night around 5:30pm to be sure that I would make it uptown by 6pm to jump in line and wait for my ticket to the premiere screening. By 5:45 there was a line that almost spanned the length of the theater on 68th st. I had been to the Lincoln Square theater once before and was shocked by the elegance of the theater, so when I realized that was where this premiere was taking place I began to wonder what the plans would be for the red carpet. It was cold enough outside that they had to tent the front of the theater so I was a little disappointed that I would not be able to catch a glimpse of the stars walking the red carpet, but once the theater was filled we were greeted with a smiling Cameron Diaz who sat among us in the middle of the theater.

Ms. Diaz entered the theater to shouts and cheers from the young fans and tons of flashing photos and the occasional camera phone, and was carefully walked through the crowds of people towards the middle rows that were set aside for the stars and studio execs in attendance of the premiere. It took several minutes for the audience to calm down, and I'm sure that Ms. Diaz felt the love of her 'fans' as they called to her saying "I love you Cameron!". The thing that amazed me was that when she first entered she appeared a little overwhelmed and was quickly seated with people that appeared to be friends as she quickly jumped into a conversation and was laughing and smiling. As she cheers continued she took it upon herself to give the people what they wanted... her. She stood, smiled, and posed for photos. It amazes me when stars show such class. I cannot help but think that the life they live is difficult, but when a star shows class and grace in such a manner it makes you respect them that much more.

But let me get back to the actual film. The Box left me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film, and with each little twist, additional questions were added to the list that had been accumulating since the first time I had seen the trailer. I have not read the short story, but will be picking up a copy as soon as I can to find out the story behind the movie. So if you like films that make you jump from suspense, introduce complex characters that really make you think and wonder who/what they are and what or who gave them the power to become who they are than this is a film for you. It will keep you engulfed in the story from start to finish.

On a slight side note I would like to throw this question out into the cyber world and see if anyone has picked up on it or if they might have some sort of insight into an explanation.

The Box, which is set in 1976, has something in common with G.I.Joe. Both films have elements that revolve around the government on some level (obviously). But if you watch, or I should say read closely, you will notice that there is a specific branch of the government, or what I am guessing to be a department within the government that is mentioned by name in both film. If you know what I am talking about, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.

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May 20, 2011
very nice article and thank you for sharing this in the community! This was one of those movies that I somewhat liked, but I couldn't exactly put a finger why it didn't hit a homerun for me. I really liked its concept and premise, there was just something lacking. Thanks! I will be back....
May 20, 2011
The bad special effects didn't help.
More The Box (2009 film) reviews
review by . March 01, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****    A movie as perplexing as "The Box" is a rare find, especially when it's a very mainstream picture. But then again, it isn't easy to imagine that Richard Kelly, whose breakthrough feature was the illusive and fascinating "Donnie Darko", is capable of making a mainstream movie for Hollywood. But if he ever did, this would be it. Now, I know that it isn't easy to enjoy or even appreciate a movie like this on first glance - heck, I didn't even like it upon my initial …
review by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   I remember watching the Twilight Zone as a kid in the 80s. I was pretty young and don’t remember that much about it, but I do remember the button episode. I think that is the one episode that every kid remembers. It was so creepy, and the ominous ending made you sure that you would never fall for that trick, and you would never press the button.      When The Box came up on Cinemax, I recognized the story immediately. Where the Twilight Zone version ends in …
review by . February 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What makes the premise of this intriguing film so satisfying is its simplicity. A middle class couple facing financial difficulties is presented with a choice: push a button and they will be given a million dollars in cash ... and, someone they don't know will die. The problem is that the filmmakers develop an overly elaborate and inexplicably bizarre back story packed with visually intriguing ideas that never really go anywhere in order to account for why they were given the choice in the first …
About the reviewer
Hannah aka Angry Penguin ()
Ranked #109
I am a film fanatic, constantly watching films new and old. When not watching movies I'm reading YA lit or sci-fi/fantasy novels, or working on completing my own book.      If … more
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About this movie


Director Richard Kelly has crafted yet another evocative, spectacular, maddening film guaranteed to provoke passionate love-it or hate-it responses. Though far more straightforward than his previous cult favorites,Donnie DarkoorSouthland Tales,The Boxis crammed just as full of stunning visuals and ambiguous metaphysics. Norma and Arthur Lewis (Cameron Diaz ofCharlie's Angelsand James Marsden ofX-Men) find a plainly wrapped package on their doorstep one day. Inside is a strange box with a large, red button--and if they press that button, explains a courtly but alarming-looking gentleman (Frank Langella,Frost/Nixon), they will receive a million dollars… and someone they don't know will die. This is but the starting point for an increasingly creepy tale, featuring eye-popping wallpaper, spontaneous nosebleeds, allusions to Jean-Paul Sartre, overly attentive library patrons, boxes of water, warehouses full of light, and a bell-ringing Santa Claus standing in the middle of a road. Some of it makes sense, some of it doesn't, but the person who's going to love this movie won't care.The Box's true power lies in the slow accumulation of dizzying hypnotic images and a tangible sense of unease and anticipation. Kelly aspires to capture the beauty and terror of existence on film; even if he doesn't succeed--and every viewer will have to decide that for himself or herself--his sheer ambition is remarkable.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Richard Kelly
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: November 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Richard Kelly
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
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