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The Box (2009, Richard Kelly)


What do you get if you cross Close Encounters with The Game?

A preposterous load of auld toot, that's what.

It's difficult to know how to precisely hack apart a film so slight. The Box's one hook seems to be (and thankfully one of the characters vocalises this near the end, lest the hard of thinking get confused) that its world exists in some kind of Purgatory.

It's purgatory sitting through 2 hours of treading water.

I'm sure that Rickard Kelly thought he was on to a winner here - The teenagers who got sucked into the Darko mythos have finished bleeding their parents through university and now want, like our loving couple here, a nice house in a nice suburb with a nice job and a nice spouse. They also want something that's got hidden meaning. An ting.

Unfortunately for the Jonathans and Chloes of this world, everything remotely oblique in The Box is so badly telegraphed that it's in danger of growing a beard before the director decides to put us out of our misery with a bit of exposition.

That aside, the two central characters are complete dullards who accept all this errant nonsense with nary a raised eyebrow and instead plod dutifully from one set piece to the next while the orchestral score builds behind them just a little too loudly.

Now, Cameron Diaz and James Marsden are hardly the most expressive of actors at the best of times and in a film that compels the both of them to spend long periods staring blankly into space hardly plays to their strengths (does James Marsden have any strengths to begin with?). In fact, poor Cameron frowns and pouts so much that the wrinkles on her face would hold a fortnight's worth of rain by the end.

No wonder she's now doing B Movies with Tom Cruise...

In its favour, The Box looks very nice. Though brown.

I can remember the 70s and it wasn't as brown as this - It should be more yellowy.

Frank Langella does his best, bless him, but the film is as hollow as what's in the package to begin with.