The Box (2009) 2009 PG-13 CC

Amazon Instant Video

(236) IMDb 5.6/10
Available in HD
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An average suburban couple are presented with a box containing a button that, if pushed, would bring them a million dollars...but simultaneously take the life of someone they don't know.

Starring:
Cameron Diaz, James Marsden
Runtime:
1 hour 56 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The Box (2009)

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The Box [Blu-ray]

Price: $7.88

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Product Details

Genres Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller, Mystery
Director Richard Kelly
Starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden
Supporting actors Frank Langella, James Rebhorn, Holmes Osborne, Sam Oz Stone, Gillian Jacobs, Celia Weston, Deborah Rush, Lisa K. Wyatt, Mark S. Cartier, Kevin Robertson, Michele Durrett, Ian Kahn, John Magaro, Ryan Woodle, Basil Hoffman, Robert Harvey, Gentry Lee, Andrew Levitas
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

The experiments though an interesting story angle just aren't well described enough to make any sense.
phoongdan
Norma becomes obsessed with the button, starting at it for hours while she and Arthur argue the moral issue that they will be playing God with someone else's life.
Tim Janson
The only reason I watched to the end was to see what other convolutions they would throw in to make this silly movie seem like a thought provoking film.
brad-man

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Chris Pandolfi on 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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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Tom Fulery on 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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81 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Shopper on December 27, 2009
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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