14 March 2010

Richard Kelly pushed the button.

The Box - Richard Kelly

Richard Kelly’s film history is small compared to directors with the same status in the underground cult groups. His most successful film is Donnie Darko and it seems that his films after that are only trying to achieve the same feel and style whilst using a story that tries to make sense. It’s a common theme from his work, except for writing Domino (which he didn’t direct) which was a big pile of shit. Southland Tales was decent in parts but tried to confuse the viewer into thinking it was intelligent. And of course, Donnie Darko is a superb film, crafted brilliantly, but that’s because it was the piece his career was made on, it had to be good. But now he’s made it, he doesn’t have to try too hard. As i was thinking, Kelly would soon fall into one-hit-wonderum, but instead he fights back with a new film, The Box, starring Cameron (I’ve only made one decent film ever) Diaz and James Marsden.

The plot follows the tale of a couple with a kid who are tested by a man with a box. If they press the big red button on the box, someone, somewhere will die, and they will be given loads of cash for it. Simple premise. Throw in some strange science fiction questions, such as lightning bolts connecting people to other worldly creatures, a man with half his face missing, a town becoming manipulated zombies and base it on questions of human conscious and if a person could really kill, and it’s a good film. It has its random Kelly moments, especially with water, but overall, its questions are in the right place, with the audience being tested. I’m sure at the end of the film, people were asking, would they have the guts to do it. Would i be able to kill for money, and I’m sure most of them would say yes. And i would too. It sounds horrible to think, but then at the same time, i would invest some of that money into a profitable business, get shitloads back and then go to the clinic in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the one owned by Tom Wilkinson and get my memory erased of it, so then i forgot that i killed someone, and my conscious would be clean. How about that Kelly, didn’t think about that did you!

For a science fiction thriller with horror elements, it’s mediocre; you expect more from a director who got nominated for a shit-ton of awards but as produced nothing like his debut. It’s better than what i thought it would be, with many critics and reviews panning the shit out of it, except for Empire, who i respect as a reviewing system. But it’s simple, it’s a little long, with it being two hours for a horror film essentially, but it feels like a throwback to the old horror from the 60’s and 70’s, where it wasn’t a scare, more of a mental thought.


Simon Childs

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