Saturday, March 06, 2010

Way out of ‘The Box’

In “The Box,” Cameron Diaz and James Marsden play a married couple, visited on an unusually bad day by a disfigured stranger (Frank Langella) with a bizarre offer. If the spouses agree to press the button of a box-shaped device, someone they don’t know will die, but they’ll get paid a million dollars. Director-screenwriter Richard Kelly’s film is a circuitous science fiction puzzle that inevitably becomes overly complicated, but despite the high-faluting conundrums, it touches on thought-provoking philosophical angles when details on the bigger picture are gradually revealed. That grand, out-of-the-box design isn’t executed flawlessly; it gets uncomfortably campy along the way, and answers to some bafflers are still too cryptic. However, the couple’s smaller-scale, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” drama pushes all the right buttons.

“The Box” is an Ayala Cinemas exclusive opening on March 10.

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