The Box (2009)

The Box (2009)

2009 | PG-13 | 115 Minutes

Science Fiction | Thriller

Norma and Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child, receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger delivers the message that...

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • The Box pushes an ambitious button but creates an unsatisfying mystery. Kelly will always be known for 'Donnie Darko', no matter how successful his next film may be. Deep down he knows this, which is why The Box takes several elements of said film and turns them into an intriguing mystery that just couldn't quite execute its conclusion well enough. A couple are presented with a mysterious box, to which an ominous individual gives them a choice. If they push the button, they will receive a million dollars but with the consequence of killing a random stranger in the world. Or, they can ignore the button and continue on with their lives. The depiction of free will is frequent in this mystery, with this couple being presented with many choices that may or may not be part of a bigger picture (I shan't spoil it...). However Kelly had some good ideas here. Religious overtones are embedded against a seemingly scientific world, illustrating the concept of circumstance. Are all these actions random? Is it fate? Does the button symbolise the catalyst in humanity's own self-destruction through greed? Well, that's up for interpretation, and that is exactly why my intrigue levels were off the scale. Kelly manages to keep you invested, even if his ideas never really come to fruition. The idea of free will is often skewed, particularly when influences such as a hundred dollars make for biased choices. The third act seemingly crumbles into melodrama and concludes in an open-ended way that is sure to leave many scratching their heads or rolling their eyes. Fortunately Marsden and Langella's performances sold the mystery to me. Consistently ominous and constantly engrossing. Diaz was fairly good, but occasionally loses the phoney accent. More narrative focus should've been on the million dollar choice, exploring moral and ethical perspectives, as opposed to the repercussions after pressing it. I would question the lasting appeal of The Box in comparison to 'Donnie Darko', but as a supernatural mystery it was compelling enough for me to class as good. The question is would you press the button yourself?