The Box Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.5
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features 7.5
Total 7.5

Distributor: Icon
Running Time: 115 Minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: M15+

7.5


The Box (2009)

25-year-old director Richard Kelly came out of nowhere with his 2001 feature debut Donnie Darko, a seamless meld of melodrama, suspense and existentialism which quickly became one of the most widely interpreted and thought-provoking films of the decade. 

Though it’s been a while coming, Kelly’s sophomore effort is no less haunting and cerebral.  Based on a short story by Richard Matheson and a subsequent 1985 episode of The Twilight Zone, The Box revolves around a seemingly typical middle class couple of the 1970s.  Norma Lewis (Cameron Diaz) and her NASA employee husband Arthur (James Marsden) are wakened early one morning by a knock at the door; upon bleary-eyed perusal the couple are taken aback to discover a black car vanishing into the distance and a mysterious parcel left on their doorstep.

Inside the parcel, of course, is the eponymous box; a small wooden device with a large button encased inside a glass dome.  The couple ponder its appearance for a day or two before the dapper, deformed visage of Arlington Steward (Frank Langella) unexpectedly appears at their door. 

Steward explains that the device is intended as a sort of test; if the couple decide to push the button they will receive one million dollars, but someone on earth, a person unknown to them, will lose their life as a consequence.  If they choose not to push the button Steward will retake possession of the box, and make the offer to a different household.  The pair are given 24 hours to decide. 

This is a creepy, kooky sci-fi premise of the highest order, which is unsurprising given the story’s pedigree.  Though occasionally depending too heavily on the fact its audience will take its narrative convolutions at face value, The Box is nonetheless a challenging and remarkably inventive work.  Diaz and Marsden are excellent as the wholesome All-American duo being taken unwittingly for the ride of their lives, and Frank Langella is equally memorable as the enigmatic Arlington Steward.

Furthermore the BD transfer is as flawless as one would expect and the soundtrack, courtesy of none other than sublime Canadian outfit Arcade Fire, is bold, rich and atmospheric in TrueHD. 

One of the most unique and overlooked films of 2009, The Box has come up beautifully on Blu-ray and boasts a host of worthwhile special features as additional incentive.  Fans of Donnie Darko and its mindbending cinematic ilk will find much to recommend the film, and the ever-fertile imagination of Richard Kelly ensures that The Box will keep you talking long after its closing credits have rolled. 

Special Features

Audio commenatry with director & screenwriter Richard Kelly

Grounded in Reality – 10 minute Making-Of featurette

Richard Matheson in His Own Words – 5 minute featurette

Music Video Prequels

Visual Effects Revealed – short featurette with Visual Effects Editor Dylan Highsmith 






 
 



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