ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Movies & Movie Reviews

Quick Thoughts on "The Box"

Updated on October 10, 2012


Director: Richard Kelly
Cast: James Marsden, Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella, Sam Oz Stone, James Rebhorn

Based on a short story written by Richard Matheson called Button. Button, which was once adapted into a episode of The Twilight Zone, The Box has such a wallop of an opening half hour that it pains one to see the rest of the movie disintegrate into an incoherent and nonsensical bore. Set in West Virginia in 1976, the movie tells the story of a happily married couple — James Marsden’s Arthur Lewis and Cameron Diaz’s Norma Lewis – as they are made a lucrative offer from a scar faced stranger named Arlington Steward (Frank Langella): If they press a mysterious red button inside a small wooden box, they will receive a million dollars in cash, tax free. The catch, however, is that someone in the world, whom they don’t know, will die.

Because the movie runs nearly two hours long, it’s no surprise that they wind up pushing the button, and why shouldn’t they? Norma, an English teacher, has just learned that the discount on her son Walter’s (Sam Oz Stone) tuition at the private school she teaches at has been taken away, and Arthur’s dreams of becoming an astronaut are dashed after he fails the psychological portion of his exam.

There are endless possibilities with a premise like this, but the movie shoots itself in the foot with a second half that is as frustrating as it is incoherent. There are characters who seem to have pivotal roles in the story but who are completely forgotten down the road (A creepy student in Norma’s class; a babysitter who isn’t whom she appears to be). The screenplay by director Richard Kelly piles on more exposition than is necessary (the whole thing with the box involves NASA conspiracies, people who act like zombies and suffer from nosebleeds, etc) and features scenes that are as impossible to comprehend as they are needlessly overlong (the movie comes to a dead halt with a scene late in the film set inside a library).

The acting is very good, and both the cinematography by Steven B. Poster and production design by Alec Hammond are simply luminous (this is a visually striking movie). Yet the editing by Sam Bauer is so bad that there doesn’t seem to be any sense of consistency or continuity; the movie is all over the map. In the end, The Box is much like the character Arlington Steward and his offer: It promises great things, but it’s all down hill the moment that button is pushed.

Final Grade: ** (out of ****)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • priley84 profile image
      Author

      priley84 6 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      It did have a very thought provoking premise, that is true. I just wish they worked with it better. :P

      Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy some of my other hubs. :)

    • profile image

      Sooner28 6 years ago

      I found the plot line to the movie to be very interesting. It made me wonder how many Americans, with our insatiable greed, would actually push the button. Glad to see another movie fan!

    • priley84 profile image
      Author

      priley84 6 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      Thank you for reading. :)

    • VendettaVixen profile image

      VendettaVixen 6 years ago from Ireland

      Hmm, I always liked the short story, and I hate to see a good story ruined like this. Shame.

      Thanks for a really insightful review.

    • priley84 profile image
      Author

      priley84 6 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      It really isn't worth it. There are other better, more challenging, and more thoughtful films out there.

    • profile image

      Danielle 6 years ago

      I had heard some rather discouraging remarks on this film before but you made your points on the film's flaws a lot more detailed. Good and useful review for a movie that after further details I now feel even less inclined to watch, lol.

    • priley84 profile image
      Author

      priley84 6 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      Thanks. :)

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia

      I agree with you. This movie sounded exciting and mysterious when i saw the trailer, but wasn't quite what I expected when I saw it. I do like the fact that a viewer could construct meaning from it in various ways, but you are right, it lacked focus. I voted your review up and useful.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)