“The Box”


Richard Kelly is a master at making nice-looking incoherent stuff.  Who can forget that brief period early in the 00s when we thought he was complex? Donnie Darko was “evocative,” “dream-like,” and other adjectives for stuff that makes no sense.  But unlike David Lynch’s style of nonsense, which seems like it would make sense if I just thought about it really hard, Richard Kelly’s gobbledygook just makes me tired.

Which brings us to “The Box,” which is a great name for an arty porn film.  Unfortunately, this is a PG-13 movie, and the only nudity involves Frank Langella’s face-bones.  Lord Langenheimer shows up on the doorstep of a serviceable James Marsden and a terrible Cameron Diaz, who suffers from that common actress affliction known as Inconsistent Southern Accent Syndrome, a disease that even the weakest actresses have overcome.  Half of Langella’s face is burned off, but Diaz’s character has a messed-up foot to go with her ISAS, so it’s all good.  Langella says that if Diaz pushes the button on the box, she’ll get some cash and somebody she doesn’t know will die.  Diaz is riddled with doubt, which she conveys in the accent of an Appalchian hobo: “WHUT DO AH DAY-OOOO??”

So, anyway, the button’s pushed, then (SPOILER TIME) the movie takes a screwball turn into aliens and Mars and what-nots.(NO MORE SPOILERS)  After a while, the story made my eyes cross, and it was all rather incoherent and odd.  Still, MAN, did this movie look good.  I loved the cinematography.  It appears to be shot with that RED digital camera, and it achieves a very cool period look. It looks great and makes no sense.  It’s a Richard Kelly film.

You should see “The Box” (snicker).  Maybe you could make a lasagna while it plays, or re-arrange some shelves in your bedroom while looking through a glass door at the film, thereby obscuring the dialogue. Maybe the Blu-Ray has a dialogue-free track, which would be ideal. The movie’s ludicrous, but you should watch it when it comes on FX in the afternoon in 2012.

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