84 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Interesting thriller (undeserving of so many poor reviews),
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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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 6, 2010 11:59:40 AM PST
Rufus Quail says:
Because of Diaz, I would have steered clear. This review convinced me to give it a try. After all, I get my movies free from the library. With Diaz in the cast, viewers were probably expecting light comedy or formula drama and were disappointed.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2010 1:57:55 PM PST
I hope you liked the film!
(I also get a lot of DVD's from my local library; especially if I am not certain if I am going to like the film well enough to invest in it ;o) )
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2010 8:06:44 AM PST
Pam Arrant says:
Hello Mr. Quail, This comment probably relates more to the original reviewer then yourself. I read the review by Amazon and it states the movie "is crammed full of stunning visuals and ambiguous metaphysics" and "The Box true power lies in the slow accumulation of dizzying hynotic images. Kelly aspires to capture the beauty and terror of the existence on film and even if he doesn't succeed - and every viewer will have to decide that for himself or herself". I am mostly relying on the review by Shopper but I must admit that I am a little confused because he or she makes the point of saying "The Box is an auditory focused film". So if you, Shopper, or others can somewhat clear this differing reviews please make a comment. I will receive this comment thru my e-mail. Many thanks to anyone who takes the time to reply.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2010 9:50:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 4, 2010 3:46:02 PM PST
Hello, Pam Arrant:
(I am a "she", btw ;o) )
Regarding the meaning of my comment: "The Box is an auditory focused film": I believe that, as long as you listened intently to the dialogue, you could close your eyes and still not loose the meaning of the film...
I have to disagree with the Amazon reviewer that "[The Box] is crammed full of stunning visuals...". They just weren't there... And as for "...Kelly aspires to capture the beauty and terror of the existence on film and even if he doesn't succeed - and every viewer will have to decide that for himself or herself"... that just sounds like the reviewer was being paid per word... ;o) (I'm being sarcastic...) I can't comment beyond that, as obviously I don't know what was on the reviewer's mind when the person was writing these words.
Anyway, the film IS somewhat ambiguous in certain points (as I write in my original review: "... some questions are purposefully left for each viewer's imagination to tackle..."), but I think that was a good move on part of the film makers. Those open ended questions did not necessarily have right/wrong answers and made the story linger in my thoughts many days after the initial viewing of the film (they also made for great conversation points with my friends!).
Please let me know if my answer does not address your questions satisfactorily and I will try to elaborate further.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2010 7:09:35 PM PST
Pam Arrant says:
Now that I know you are a woman I will definitely put more stock in your review!! LOL Thank you very much for your quick response and you absolutely do address my questions satisfactorily. Sometimes there can be totally contradictory reviews on a subject and therefore tends to confuse the potential buyer. Also I am frequently cynical about the official Amazon review because they obviously can have an alternative motive like encouraging a purchase. Thank you again for your reply.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2010 7:48:10 PM PST
Matt J. Rose says:
I gotta agree with Shopper here. I was wondering how a movie about a box with those "conditions" could play out, but I was surprised to see the road it took. It seems like people are only looking for action and CGI work these days, which causes alot of films to get downgraded...much like "The Box". Sit down pay attention and enjoy this movie, its actually kinda creepy and thought provoking in my opinion. Ill go ***.5-**** on this one for sure.
...somehow I see Jody Foster playing Norma...again just my opinion.
Posted on Mar 18, 2010 11:27:37 PM PDT
I think Diaz was miscast here. I agree with Shopper that her overacting took something away. But that being said, it's not an easy role. The film has a somewhat surrealist scope. There's a sort of cold-war drama feel to it. So I believe she's instructed to act with grandiose passion. This is new territory for her or it would appear to be. I wonder how it would have been if Charlize Theron were cast. I think she could pull it off.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2010 6:56:01 PM PDT
I like both suggestions (Foster and Theron). Perhaps Theron would have been closer in age though. Either one would have been a great improvement over Diaz...
PS: Thank you all for reading my review!
Posted on Oct 29, 2010 5:33:04 AM PDT
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b says:
"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."
That hits the nail right on the head. I loved the premise, but I found myself thinking this should be moving a little faster. I usually has great patience, but this one tested mine just a little too much.
Nice job! ;-)
Posted on Nov 18, 2010 9:09:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2010 9:15:08 PM PST
Cameron is a great personality and a happy individual whose talents shine tremendously when she does comedy. But just because she seems overly gloomy here, "Diaz" needn't be described practically as untalented. Her character's apparent insecurity and ready empathy come from the fact of her disfigurement.................Otherwise I agree completely with Shopper that the movie is better than the trashing it's receiving here. It's interesting that it takes place in the 70's too with the fashions, home furnishings, social gatherings and all. It has the feel of a 50's horror movie too with it's musical score. I'm not sure I understand it in its entirely yet but I quite enjoyed it. It was a weird ride!