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D**ked with "The Box": Bitter Balcony Needed Coffee To Get Through This Richard Kelly Bore-Fest!!!


The Box

One-hit wonder Richard Kelly and his damned time portals return with “The Box.” Kelly, who followed 2001's cult classic "Donnie Darko" with the ambitious, yet unfocused and poorly executed "Southland Tales" in 2006, attempts to connect with a wider audience with this thriller that about a middle-class family in 1976 Virginia. Norma Lewis (Cameron Diaz) is a literature teacher who is affected by budget cuts, while her NASA engineer husband Arthur’s (James Mardsen) goal of becoming an astronaut suffers a setback when he is rejected by the higher-ups. As the couple raises their precocious son Walter (Sam Oz Stone), how will they be able to afford their suburban paradise?

"Salesman" Arlington Steward (Frank Langella) stops by the Lewis residence to explain the box he had dropped off in their front door a day earlier. Steward, who sports scars along the ranks of Harvey Dent, makes a simple proposition to Norma: Press the button; $1 million will be awarded, no questions asked. However, like a freakishly extreme Publishers Clearing House giveaway, this proposition comes with a catch: Someone will die if the button is pushed. Arthur and Norma, like a corduroy-and-bell-bottom-wearing Adam and Eve, press the button with the same curiosity humanity's first couple ate the forbidden fruit(To be more specific, Norma is the one who presses it in front of Arthur).

As Steward says in the film's trailer "there are always consequences,” the fatal decision to push the button leads the couple into severe bouts of regret and guilt. While those consequences are to be expected, Bitter Balcony doesn't think that a full-blown conspiracy with nose-bleeding secret agents, incomprehensible clues, and traveling through a water portal was what the Lewises had in mind.

Like his prior work, Kelly is driven by the collision between faith and science – and the ethereal nature that could link them. While this theme is unique as a young filmmaker's signature, this is Kelly's second consecutive film to fail to do anything with it. Supporters of Kelly will defend his work, perhaps pointing out to detractors that is our problem for not “getting it.” Bitter Balcony agrees: we don't get it at all! How are we supposed to get ideas that only make sense to a filmmaker who can't articulate them on screen? Let's not confuse interesting concepts with depth when the execution is convulted at best.

With “The Box,” based on "I Am Legend" author Richard Masterson's short story "Button, Button,” Kelly's obsession with time and outer realms drowns what should have been an efficient morality tale into a Dianetics chapter even Tom Cruise would find ridiculous.

Worst of all, what was refreshing in "Donnie Darko" has turned boring, and "The Box" is definitely that. Richard Kelly has become the indie Shamalyan. Although not pompous like "The Happening" director, Kelly is lost in the derision of his own creativity. Our advice to Kelly, stop taking compliments from Kevin Smith, he's got the Midas touch of shit. As for our readers, if any of you are sleep deprived, Bitter Balcony highly recommends "The Box" as an alternative to sleeping pills.



Official website:

The Box


Directed by: Richard Kelly
Written by: Richard Kelly, Richard Masterson(short story "Button,Button")
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella, James Mardsen

Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
JAS on Tue, 11/24/2009 - 2:29pm

I wanted to catch this one, since I missed that it was directed by Mr. Darko himself. Glad I missed it. I might have become even more bitter at movies.

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