Friday, November 6, 2009

Movie Review (sort of): The Box

The gist:

Norma and Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child, receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger, delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world; someone they don't know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the cross-hairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity. (Written by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Hello, there, young lady. Would you like to check out my button unit?

It's not that I don't like writing negative reviews.  Oh, hell yes, I do. It's just that I tend to write a lot of them. Does this mean that most movies are bad?  Sort of.

So, why did Richard Kelly's new riddle, The Box, which opens tonight, make me think of this?  I guess it's that with Kelly's films (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales) his presence is so obvious you can almost see him thinking through the next steps of his films, which is usually a bad thing.  But The Box is in "so bad it's actually good" territory.  With Kelly, weirdness turns to mystery and then back to just plain hollow oddity and back around to well-lit weirdness again with no clear drawn conclusions. His plot choices seem random and self-indulgent on top of just plain confusing or silly.  Even though The Box is his first foray into the blatantly commercial, it's a crazy-ass art movie and for that, Kelly gets mad props.  The crazy-ass artist in me that once made many terrible and personal short films loves that Kelly awkwardly jammed bits from his own childhood as well as those bizarre water-time-portal-tube-things from Donnie Darko into an already uber-wacko The Box.  I would just really like to get a beer with this dude.