The Box 2009 Movie Scene Frank Langella as Arlington Steward explaining what the box does to Cameron Diaz as Norma Lewis

The Box [2009]

Coming to us from the director of Donnie Darko, The Box is an intriguing movie you’re either going to love or find boring. It’s based on a short story written by Richard Matheson. That’s something you’re going to notice right away as this simple but powerful premise will be stretched to its limits. I personally liked the movie and I think that The Box is worth watching. Sure, the pacing is a bit slower and you can feel a lot of scenes were unnecessary but that ominous atmosphere got to me. Especially when Arlington Steward played by Frank Langella shows up.

I also have to commend our two leads, Cameron Diaz and James Marsden who were surprisingly good. Really, I don’t think I’ve seen Cameron act this well and Marsden was just as good as he was in Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road, another odd 2000s movie. We will be following a young married couple who finds a box outside their door. The box has a purpose that will be explained soon and soon as well the two of them will have to make a choice. It’s that choice thing that holds this entire movie together. I don’t want to reveal too much as I want you to have the same discussion I had while watching the movie.

Would you do it? Would you press the button? It’s easy to say no now but what if you were in a difficult situation? And then you start rationalizing and deconstructing everything in an effort to justify your decision. We, humans, are very good at that. To move away from all the philosophical intrigue, I should mention that the story unfolds in the year of our lord Sagan 1976. That timeframe and the fact that one of the leads works at NASA creates this “new wave of science fiction” atmosphere. If you’re a fan of science fiction literature, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it.

It was exactly quarter to six in the morning when Arthur Lewis and his wife Norma found a mysterious package outside of their front door. Norma could only see a car speeding away as she looked through the peephole. Inside the box was a note that a certain Mr. Steward will explain everything tomorrow. True to his word, he appears tomorrow precisely at the time specified in the note. His appearance is just as shocking as the sentences he utters next.

Meandering through a series of loosely connected scenes, The Box feels like an unfinished student film. The production values and familiar faces are there to remind you’re actually watching a big movie with a budget of $30 million. I think now you’re ready to watch the movie as your expectations are probably low. Just immerse yourself in the atmosphere and think about the moral dilemma posed in this movie. It can be applied to a number of cases.

Director: Richard Kelly

Writers: Richard Kelly, Richard Matheson

Cast: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella, Gillian Jacobs, Holmes Osborne

Fun Stuff: The short story titled Button, Button was first published in the Playboy Magazine in 1970.


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