— by JOSUE SANCHEZ —
When I first saw the trailer for this movie “The Box,” I remember thinking, “This reminds me of something I’ve seen before.”
In the official movie trailer, a mysterious man with a scarred face (played by Frank Langella) gives a financially-struggling couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) a wooden box. Once you open its lid, the box contains a red button in it. The man tells the couple that if they push this button, he will award them $1 million.
Of course, there is a catch: Someone, somewhere, will die.
The desperate couple struggles with the decision — with doing the right thing — but as the trailer makes obvious, they push the button.
I remember thinking to myself, “This cannot end well.” This thought stayed in the back of my mind until I figured it out — this movie is based on a “Twilight Zone” episode I had seen a long time ago. The episode was called “Button, Button,” just like the short story it was based on. It’s a classic to me.
I also remembered that I thought the movie “Indecent Proposal” was kind of a copy of “Button, Button,” except the consequence of following through on this proposal will be death instead of a an adulterous betrayal. With the clips shown below, we get to see a little bit of the desperation the main characters of the movie face — both before they push the button and after.
These clips show the error of their decision. Cameron Diaz’s character appears to be unhappy in every scene. The money, just like in the movie “Indecent Proposal,” did not make them happy nor did it solve their problems. Instead, by what we see here, things go from bad to worse.
Writing, directing and producing a movie is a lot of work, Richard Kelly is doing all three for “The Box.” He is very talented and has the experience with the dark feel a movie like this needs (ie: “Donnie Darko” and “Southland Tales”). And this is a good opportunity for Cameron Diaz to remind us she can do good work, as she did in “Vanilla Sky” or “Being John Malcovich.”
I am especially happy for James Marsden. This is an uncommon role for him (he’s usually playing the very nice guy who loses the girl). This may actually be his chance to show us he can be a leading man. The question is: Will he make it to the end of the movie?
I actually left the best for last, Frank Langella. He always plays these dark characters well, but here, his cold and confident portrayal of this character, along with the scarred face simply makes his true intentions indiscernible. He definitely plays his character like a calm businessman, confident in his product and unfazed that he’s done this so many times. It will be interesting to see how his character is developed and how he interacts with others.
“The Box” will be opened on Nov. 6.
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