This is a disappointing effort from the same director of films like "Southland Tales" and "Donnie Darko". The film looks great and contains complex metaphysics, but in the end rings hollow. Or I could start off this review by saying that this is a deep and complex film that will have your brain jumping for joy. Which is true is completely up to the viewer.
Couple Norma (Cameron Diaz – The Mask, Shrek) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden – X2, 27 Dresses) are having a fairly routine day until they find a wrapped gift on their front step. When they open it inside they find a box with a large red button. Inside there is a note telling them that a man will come and explain things to them at 5:00. Promptly at 5:00, a creepy gentleman (Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon, Superman Returns) explains to them that if they push the button that they will receive a million dollars, but someone they don't know will die. Because the young couple are suffering from some financial problems this makes the decision of whether to push or not to push a lot more difficult.
Richard Kelly tries his darndest to make this a film full of tension and atmosphere. It is noble, but I think he has reached too far. Instead of being terrified at the scary moments they end up being funny. It kind of ruins things. After the obvious button pushing (you knew it would happen as there wouldn't be a film without it) the whole thing devolves into unexplainable nosebleeds, people flashing peace signs and townspeople that walk around behaving like zombies. It all becomes very confusing quickly.
This is the type of film that people will either love or hate. Those of you out there who dig existential films that require you pay close attention and use your brain to figure things out will love the film. Those of you who want 2 hours of escapism should stay far away.
-The Box: Grounded in Reality
-Music Video Prequels
-Visual Effects Revealed
-Richard Matheson: In His Own Words