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The Box Hates You

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The Box has a lot of the trappings of a great movie.  It stars Cameron Diaz, who starred in Being John Malkovich.  And the story suggests another interesting perspective of a fascinating idea.  (A couple is faced with the decision of whether or not to press a button that'll cause the death of a complete stranger and which will earn them $1,000,000.)  It also does a convincing depiction of America in the 1970's.

So we watched this potentially wonderful movie last night.  It started off great.  The way it was set in the 1970's, it reminded me of Ang Lee's The Ice Storm.  That's another favorite movie of mine.  Things were looking up.  Good pedigree, interesting ideas, good production...

But then things turn weird and just keep turning weirder in a bad way.

Maybe Richard Kelly was keeping on with what he thought was a successful tactic from Donnie Darko, but it doesn't work in The Box.

SPOILERS AT THIS ONE PARAGRAPH:

After the movie ended, I replayed a few scenes to see if I missed anything.  Was there any explanation for why the previous father accosted the current father at gunpoint?  Was free will an element in this movie?  (How did the employer force the father to shoot his wife each time the button was pressed by the next couple if the employer didn't know what would happen?)  There were many WTF moments in this movie, and they were of both the "that's out of left field" and "that contradicts what we just saw" varieties.

Be warned. Go into this movie expecting less Being John Malkovich and more Donnie Darko.  Otherwise you may be left with the same unsatisfied feeling with which I walked away.  No, it was worse than that.  That movie hated me.  It started off promising so much, and not only didn't deliver, it just jerked me around, as it didn't know what to do with the ideas.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
neon_epiphany
Feb. 25th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
So.. you liked the Ice Storm. Have you seen The Sweet Hereafter?
dblume
Feb. 25th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
No, I haven't. My ratings site thinks I'll love it more than most. Yay, it's enqueued! Thank you!
dblume
Apr. 9th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC)
Watched it tonight. It's interesting- when the movie came out, I didn't yet have my children, and hadn't yet had some close friends and family pass away.

But now I have, and now is when I watched it. Also watched it alone after the kids went to bed and my wife went to work.

At first, thought I wasn't going to like it because I wasn't going to like the lawyer. Soon realized that that was OK with the filmmakers. :)

I did like the movie. It left me in a mood, and I spent a little extra time watching the kids sleep tonight. Also bothered to find this comment and let you know.

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm glad you thought of it.
tpederson
Mar. 2nd, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Haven't seen The Box, but loved Donnie Darko.
dblume
Mar. 3rd, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Now that you've had your expectations set, you're likely to enjoy the movie a lot more than I did. Let me know.
tpederson
Mar. 3rd, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
OK, will add to my Q
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )