starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Sam Oz Stone, James Rebhorn and Frank Langella
screenplay by Richard Kelly
directed by Richard Kelly
Based upon the short story “Button, Button” by Richard Matheson,The Box is a strange science fiction story set in 1977 Virginia, when the Mars Viking Lander was sending back photographs and soil sample data from the surface of that planet. I remember it.
There is something scary about overly straight posture.
A mysterious stranger approaches a family and delivers a box with a red button on it. If they push the button, someone somewhere in the world that they do not know will die. And, they will receive a tax free payment of one million dollars in cash. It’s a terrible temptation, and and an intriguing psychological and moral dilemma. It’s meant to be, in order for the aliens who are occupying the stranger’s body to test our species, to see if we are worthy of survival. That’s the idea, anyway, although the film falls very short of making anything out of the alien connection. It could have been, should have been a much better film. And scarier. But instead of going the alien abduction/invasion route the story skirted that theme, like Chris Carter always did in The X Files television series.
I knew from advertising leaders in other DVDs the story outline. But I expected it to be a story about the devil, not about aliens. Maybe it doesn’t matter much since, as I say, not even the alien theme was fully utilized.
I enjoy Frank Langella (Cutthroat Island, 1995, The Ninth Gate, 1999, Frost/Nixon, 2008). He’s like the devil in the flesh. Maybe it’s his menacing voice, or his large frame in combination with his good posture. There’s something scary about overly straight posture, don’t you think?