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The Box (2009)

Cameron Diaz , James Marsden , Richard Kelly  |  PG-13 |  DVD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella, James Rebhorn, Holmes Osborne
  • Directors: Richard Kelly
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Widescreen, Color, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001UV4XWY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,949 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Box" on IMDb

Special Features

Richard Matheson: In His Own Words: An intimate interview with a sci-fi legend

Editorial Reviews

Push a red button on a little black box, get a million bucks cash. Just like that, all of Norma (Diaz) and Arthur Lewis's (Marsden) financial problems will be over. But there's a catch, according to the strange visitor (Lagella) who placed the box on the couple’s doorstep. Someone, somewhere – someone they don't know – will die. Cameron Diaz and James Marsden play a couple confronted by agonizing temptation yet unaware they're already part of an orchestrated an – for them and us – mind-blowing chain of events.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The altruism equation: Free or not free. November 17, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
THE BOX is a masterpiece of ethical and moral dilemma masquerading as an ominous sci-fi suspense thriller. It may seem obscure and incomprehensible, but it's essentially just a story about the Golden Rule: What we do to others we do to ourselves.
The story is taken form an ironic little gem of a story by Richard Matheson (of TWILIGHT ZONE fame) called "Button, Button." The movie expands it into a Gordian Knot of obscure, seemingly unrelated events that inevitably, well... you'll see.
The central theme is altruism, which is basically the practical application of the Golden Rule (you know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you). The basic equation is that if enough people choose selfishness, eventually no one will be left. Yet I'm amazed by all the diverse interpretations and reviews, especially since the substance of the story is clearly stated at one point as the "altruism coefficient," that is, unless people learn to be altruistic they will either destroy each other or be destroyed by the mysterious extraterrestrials. A not uncommon sci-fi theme, but presented here as a brilliantly enigmatic and ominous fable that is never boring, but rather, perplexing and mesmerizing. It may have been more popular as a dark comedy, but then it would have lost much of its impact.
Unfortunately however, when a story is presented as enigmatically as this, people tend to see what they want to see, like the reviewer who totally misinterpreted it as a "scathing attack on altruism," quoting Ayn Rand's absurd, distorted definition of it. (Ayn Rand, the master of rationalization of the selfish and self-serving, nursed a lifelong disdain of altruism and empathy. Her books rationalize and justify selfishness, opportunism and exploitation, and still inspire those who exalt such traits.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mystery That Will Push Buttons November 6, 2009
"The Box" is one of those films where a lot of adjectives are necessary. It's taut and suspenseful, but it's also metaphysical, ponderous, cerebral, unexplainable, and above all, preposterous. It goes in all different directions, sometimes caught up in circles, sometimes taking detours, sometimes going completely off course. It's a bizarre, unpredictable story of intrigue and paranoia, continuously twisting and turning, pushing the limits of comprehension with a slew of seemingly unrelated concepts; we begin with a button and a suitcase full of money, but this soon gives way to spiritual quandaries and sinister science fiction subplots, the latter of which involves radio signals from Mars, physical disfigurements, and hordes of mind-controlled drones with bleeding noses. There's even an ongoing social experiment, which could be indicative of a morality play.

Based on Richard Matheson's short story "Button, Button" and its 1986 "Twilight Zone" adaptation, "The Box" takes place in Richmond, Virginia in 1976, and I honestly don't know whether or not that's a significant plot point. We meet Norma and Arthur Lewis (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden), a cash-strapped suburban couple who awaken one morning to find a plainly wrapped package left at the front door. Inside is a black wooden box topped with an encased red button. Neither one knows what to make of it until receiving a visit from the mysterious Arlington Steward (Frank Langella), who, for as yet unknown reasons, is missing the left side of his face. If the Lewis' decide to unlock the box and push the button, he explains, two things will happen: They will be given $1 million dollars in cash, and someone they don't know will die.

Will one of them push the button? It's not as if they couldn't use the money.
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79 of 99 people found the following review helpful
By Shopper
My friend and I spent some considerable discussion time trying to find reasons for so many poor reviews for this film. There is one thing we both agree on: The Box is an auditory focused film. In fact, with only minor adjustments to the script, it would make a great radio play. So, unless you are committed to paying a great deal of attention to every word spoken, you are bound to get lost and confused by the complex plot. In these times of short attention spans, this is an obstacle the film makers may not have taken into consideration... Pity, as the film is actually quite original and the story intriguing.

The Box is based on a 1970 short story "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson (also the author of the celebrated "I Am Legend"). A financially overextended middle class couple receives a package containing a box with a button. A strange and grossly disfigured man later visits their house and explains should they choose to press the button, they will receive $1mil, tax free. The drawback? Someone they do not know will die. The couple's actions following the man's visit, as well as the consequences of their actions, constitute the meat of the story. The why's and the who's are mostly explained, though some questions are purposefully left for each viewer's imagination to tackle. The performance is satisfactory from all leads, except Cameron Diaz. She overacts in every scene, to the point of becoming a distraction. Her casting played a major part in my downgrading the rating to 3.5 stars.

If you feel you can ignore Diaz and focus on every word of dialogue, you will be rewarded with some original thinking and a somewhat creepy film. I was entertained.
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What happened to the guy(Possible spolirs)
Struck by lightning.
May 21, 2011 by bgn |  See all 2 posts
Copy of Dark Realms episode
The Box is an adaptation of the Richard Matheson short story, "Button Button," which was published in 1970.
Nov 26, 2010 by K. Black |  See all 2 posts
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