The Box Review: Button Ugly

November 30, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

thebox300THE BOX: On General Release across the UK from Friday 4th December 2009

So a man turns up on Cameron Diaz’s doorstep, gives her a box with a button on it and tells her that if she presses it, she will receive $1million – but someone whom she doesn’t know will die.

This isn’t just any man though, he looks like Freddy Krueger after a botched cosmetic surgery op and he’s creepier than a bloke hiding in a graveyard.

I suppose we’d all like to think that we wouldn’t give in to temptation, but after 24 hours that button might look pretty inviting. Yet even if I had that kind of money I wouldn’t pay to watch this film, it’s a miserably underwhelming and thoroughly self-indulgent effort.

When Miss Diaz and her screen husband do push the button, things start to get very difficult. But whatever their problems (and they have a few), life isn’t much easier for the audience. Despite showing early promise, this film spreads itself far too wide and ultimately leaves us very unsatisfied.

We can see similarities between this and Richard Kelly’s most famous work, Donni Darko, but ultimately while the 2001 movie had enough pay-off to make the brain-work one of its most rewarding aspects, in this case there’s barely a moment of realisation to speak of.

Consequently, it’s difficult to move in this film for loose ends, most of which revolve around the bloke who dishes out the boxes in the first place; Does he work for the government? Is he an alien? What the hell is going on with that ‘water-gateway’? Am I the only person who doesn’t understand this guff?

Fleeting menace is nearly always derailed by a block of vague plot-dumping and the audience is left well and truly in the dark.

An absolute puzzler – and not in a good way.

Sean Marland

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