Saturday, January 16, 2010
Day 312: The Box (2009 ) - Rank 3.5/5
To say that I found "The Box" to be a good film, much less a coherent one, would be a lie on my part. But there's something about Richard Kelly's third feature film that I found entertaining. It's the same sense of entertainment I derive from watching a film like "Toys." The story is a mess and I'm never quite sure exactly what's taking place, but it's so absurd that I feel I'm hypnotized by the screen. The general premise of the film is mystery man Arlington Stewart (Frank Langella delightfully hamming up the role) delivers a box to the Lewis couple (James Marsden and Cameron Diaz), which possesses a button that, if punched, will reward them with a million dollars. The catch is that someone, somewhere, will die. Norma pushes it, unleashing a veritable Pandora's box of consequences and incidents, jolting reanimated corpses, alien portals and coincidental circumstances more convoluted and implausible than those in "The Game."
At the end of the film, I felt myself filled with the same sense of confusion I had after watching "Mulholland Drive" for the first time. However, the difference was that the confusion was not accompanied by a sense of betrayal. I don't feel like Kelly was trying to bullshit me with a "If you don't get this, then watch it again" mentality. instead, I feel like he just bit off more than he could chew, so to speak. The film projects a genuine attempt to entertain rather than explain and as a result, I found myself chuckling at some of the plots absurdities rather than scratching my head at them. That amusement was not the same as what I would experience while watching an Ed Wood film or something equally as hokey. Rather, I felt as if there were just elements of "The Box" that Kelly orchestrated "for weird's sake" (the library scene is a perfect example, for those who have seen it and know of what I speak) and he was just hoping someone would appreciate them from that point of view. And yes, I did.
Watch the Trailer