Sound Off: Richard Kelly's The Box - What Did You Think?

November 6, 2009

Richard Kelly's The Box

Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Virginia-born filmmaker Richard Kelly has had a very interesting career so far. His first film, Donnie Darko, is still hailed as a masterpiece by many. His second, Southland Tales, is considered one of the worst films ever. Now he's back with his third film, The Box, not only a more accessible studio thriller, but Kelly's most personal film. But how does this one stack up? Is it closer to Donnie Darko or Southland Tales? Does it have a good story with twists and turns that all pay off? Sound off below, leave a comment or two, and let us know what you thought of Richard Kelly's The Box!

To fuel the fire, I actually really liked The Box a lot. The more I think about it (and once I see it a second time), the more I like it. I do have to admit that I don't think it reaches the same levels of brilliance as Donnie Darko does (will anything?), but it's still a great film with a very mysterious and fascinating story. It got a bit confusing in the later half, but with some clarification from Richard Kelly himself, I now feel like I understand it better. Cameron Diaz was the worst choice he could've made, but James Marsden and Frank Langella are both fantastic. Overall I think it's a great film, but not necessarily a knock out of the park.

What did you think of The Box? One of the best sci-fi thrillers this year or just mediocre?

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I was reading the USA today's review by Claudia Puig and let me just say who the hell let her become the reviewer? she is awful. Her review listed it as a horror film, which seems wrong to me, I think you need to be a fan of Richard Kelly, and if you are you'll like this film. I already know I will seeing as Donnie Darko, and Southland Tales are two of my favorite movies ever.

xerxex on Nov 6, 2009


The words of failure...... Cameron Diaz.

smacky on Nov 6, 2009


haven't you seen Being John Malkovich, there's nothing wrong with Cameron Diaz... sometimes.

MK-Ultra on Nov 6, 2009


Cameron Diaz aside, the movie was amazing and I wasn't even stoned when I watched it.

Nick on Nov 6, 2009


lol #4 well i like this movie it waz really creepy

quez on Nov 6, 2009


I personally thought it was great. There were some plotholes in the middle parts, but it was wrapped up nicely and the movie was really well-made.

Joe on Nov 6, 2009


I think Saturday Night live did the movie better and it took them only a 5 minute skit. It was a failure from the concept.

Don on Nov 6, 2009


The first half was so bad it made me giggle. The second half was actually alright (although rarely plot relevant), but the beginning was so awful that it was hard to recover. Any dialogue between Marsden and Diaz is ridiculously melodramatic, the main point of the movie is to have people stare creepily at James Marsden, and Richard Kelly still managed to throw in some portals (although no time travel in this one). The main problem with The Box is that it's a mystery in which hardly any of the mystery is ever solved. It's pretty easy to tell what's going on quite early into the film, and luckily Kelly didn't try to hold out and make it a big twist at the end (It could be a twist I suppose, but if you're paying attention you should get it). So, you figure out who Frank Langella's "employers" are fairly early and then you're waiting for more explanation to the mystery. But nothing else really gets explained. I suppose there are some interesting events, a lot of Kubrick cinematography, and a cliched ending, but it doesn't actually explain anything. Usually, I wouldn't complain that nothing gets explained, but the mystery is the major point of the plot. And when Kelly sends his characters on a random jaunt through a library, or to a motel (where nothing of real importance actually happens), weird, sometimes cool events occur, but when they're over the characters just end up back at the house waiting for Frank Langella to show up and tell them what is going to happen next in the plot. That's probably the best I can do in ten minutes without using spoilers. You can read my full angry rant (with lots of spoilers...if you believe in spoilers) by clicking my name in this comment.

Matt Larner on Nov 6, 2009


I thought it was pretty damn good, besides Diaz, it was really solid. LOVED Langella, great imagery, and Marsden was definitely a great lead. Some of the story's details were a little hazy, but the more you think about it, it becomes a little clearer. Looking forward to picking it up on blu-ray to delve more into all the ideas. Definitely worth seeing- especially over A Christmas Carol even though thats pretty good too.

JackGi on Nov 6, 2009


mmm, i will go to a movie theater and check it out myself, but so far, all the comment are whitin the "it's just ok" category...

leinergroove on Nov 6, 2009


#10 - I'd say you go for it, go see it, just to check it out at least. It's not a terrible movie, the only bad thing is Cameron Diaz, but she's easy to look past. I think it's worth seeing to at least support Richard Kelly and to follow the story, since it's very mysterious and he takes it to levels that most filmmakers would not. Just go check it out! 🙂

Alex Billington on Nov 6, 2009


its excellent!

ellli on Nov 6, 2009


Southland Tales is one of my favorite movies.

Lacey on Nov 6, 2009


how's the score for the film? it was done by two members of the Arcade Fire.

samir on Nov 6, 2009


i liked the movie........but it was hard looking at cameron diaz..........what a homely woman!

beavis on Nov 6, 2009


whats going on with Cameron Diaz? Has her acting skills left her or what?

Xerxex on Nov 6, 2009


anyone who's seen being john malkovich,sister's keeper IN ADDITION to all those craptastic money-making blockbusters she's in,knows she's got more to offer than the average actress. anyway,real excited to see this but alex please,please come up with another phrase to replace TO FUEL THE FIRE. if you think cam diaz has at least two faces in her entire acting skills,you could at least get past TO FUEL THE FIRE.

twispious on Nov 6, 2009


Just to start off i'm going to lay out that i'm NOT an idiot. I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and understand it. That being said The Box was a horrible mess of confusion. I found myself outright laughing along with many people in my cinema at the silly "creepy" teenage kid that pops up everywhere for no reason. At the end of the showing i literally turned around the people behind me (who were talking about the lack of sense) and said sarcastically "What are you talking about! That made perfect sense!". Anyone who lables this film "brillant" is just adding another film to the list of "Films that are nonsensical and not understood are labled 'amazing'". The only redeeming feature of the movie was the ending in which an interesting decision is made by the couple.

Rodion on Nov 7, 2009


i think i am going to see it today

mike on Nov 7, 2009


Uhmmm... What does Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have to do with this? You may wanna rethink that NOT an idiot part.

In-Rainbows on Nov 7, 2009


#18 - The film makes complete sense. The way Kelly cut it together I can see how it can be a little confusing, but seriously if you can't figure this film out you're not even trying. This isn't Southland Tales and it's not Donnie Darko. Kelly has laid every single clue at your feet and, for once in his career, brought those clues together to give you an answer. The creepy kid is one of Steward's employees, or at the very least another cog in his machine. Remember, the principal retracts the tuition discount then gets a nosebleed. Steward calls her from a dinner rehearsal the kid is a waiter for. Steward was keeping an eye on her through these people, so it's definitely not for no reason. And hey, isn't it kind of cool to go see a movie and come up with your own ideas for what everything means? What do you think the water coffins were? What did Arthur really see? What has taken control of Arlington Steward, REALLY? I know that Kelly has his own answers for that stuff but he, like Charlie Kaufman, gets a kick out of hearing what YOU thought. If you want all the answers spelled out for you, go see every other typical mainstream movie coming out this year. Aside from Cameron Diaz and the film's slow crawl, it's nowhere near the incomprehensible mess you're making it out to be.

Fuelbot on Nov 7, 2009


#20 - He was comparing Eternal Sunshine to The Box in terms of it's complexity. The Box isn't confusing, because it's all spelled out for just happens to be a word jumble.

Fuelbot on Nov 7, 2009


#14 - To be clear, it's not the whole Arcade Fire -- just Win, Regine, and Owen. It sounds like the best Bernard Hermann scores. Appropriately spooky, ambient, emotional, and otherwordly. The score has been getting better reviews than the movie has, but I've heard that it won't be released until the film hits DVD so that's ass.

Fuelbot on Nov 7, 2009


the movie was good, no where near darko, but solid, diaz did suck till more near the end of the film then she got a little better. I thought the plot was fine and the non explanation was fine too, he is a brilliant filmaker and I love his movies. the overall message in the box was very very good and easy to see, so if you have half a brain you would understand it it is not that twisted, its just all the other stuff he throws in to screw with you, same with darko, his message is true and very deep in the soul of all mankind. the real question is if you didnt know what would happen would you push the button? look in the mirror.

tyler on Nov 7, 2009


no reason to ever watch this movie

sam on Nov 7, 2009


Some body please explain this movie to me once he went into the water cube all hell broke loose. i was open minded about everything it's just the director just was an ass and decided not to explain anything to me in the end of the movie... there was so many useless hints and clues like "look in the mirror you'll find the answer" he only looked in the mirror once after that and did nothing about it. please i just want to understand

Brant on Nov 7, 2009


#21 I'm not a typical 'mainstream' movie kinda guy, (i refuse to watch Transformers 2 lol, but i guess so do a lot of people) but i may not have been in the mood to have to figure out a (surprisingly) complex movie. I found many scenes unnecessary and frankly silly (such as the whole holding up two fingers is important to picking out a ?giant block of water....?) I felt the whole film was convulted and made only for the directors amusment as he sat upon his throne and laughed at how smart he is. I personally find Kelly to be overrated as Donnie Darko wasn't even that great (I started to watch it once but was distracted half way through...i have never felt the urge to finish it). Here is a link to a review which sums up a lot of my feelings about the movie. Thank you #22 for explaining what i meant by referencing Eternal Sunshine.

Rodion on Nov 7, 2009


am i the only one that noticed a scene in the trailer that wasnt in the movie? theres a scene in one of the trailers where he runs inside an elevator, and he slams a button that looks somewhat similar to the box button. so im sitting until the end, thinking at any moment theres going to be an intense chase scene involving elevators and buttons, and it never happens. Also, some of the dialogue between cameron and james was just flat out cheesy, and that kid that was supposed to be creepy was completely annoying.

Brian Barajas on Nov 8, 2009


this was by far the wackest movie i have every seen. Im not sure what movie you people out there saw. This movie was HORRIBLE ok maybe thats a little strong for u richard kelly die hard fans out there but let me show u why i saw this movie sucked. 1st it started of great 1976 i was into to it, a $1million ok i got u, dont call anyone cuz this guy knows everything ok im cool with that, but then all out of a sudden im lost i thought the movie was in 1976 but some how the guy with parts of his face missing was like a cult leader or something from the year 2010 im just saying it made no sense. One min there at some serect nasa space center in the sky like this guy lives on a different planet that the lighting people control and the next his back on earth . Hey the ending made some little sense i think if are greed made us do something that later on we realize that we did something bad we would try to fix it if we could. it just jumped from one story to the next like richard kelly does white lines and just ran with his thoughts. i guess if u would have taken out the whole zombie cult thing and the whole water at the motel six it may have been a little better. i mean really if iam missing something please let me know it's funny to me that my friend and i are driving home and he's telling me about a movie that sucked just as much as this one and the name u guessed it southland's. Fun thing is i was so interested to see who made this wack movie called the box and come to findout this guy did bought movies i laughed for a good ten min's it almost gave me my money worth. Man for sure worst movie of the year by far. Save your money this movie will be on dvd soon enough trust

joe v riverside ca on Nov 8, 2009


Please #29, leave the comments for people who have a better vocabulary. No text message language here please!

Rodion on Nov 8, 2009


#27 - I think my brain is just wired for this kind of movie, because I honestly didn't find it complex or confusing at all. The ideas are, but it definitely isn't hard to understand.

Fuelbot on Nov 8, 2009


Great movie. Very moody, creepy, and Kelly keeps you in the dark through most of it, which only adds to the aforementioned effects. Its almost like a David Lynch movie-seems straightforward for the first half, though theres an underlying creepiness and sense that somethings not quite right and then the rug gets pulled out from under you. I found it thrilling and at its core it seems to be a simple tale of morality, though the symbolism and little subtle things that the movie seems to be scattered with make me want to see it again. If you dont mind having to pay attention or think a little when you see a movie, check it out. When you leave the theater you leave thinking and talking about what you just saw; to me, thats a sign of a good movie.

Karsten on Nov 9, 2009


There were far too many holes in the plot and random ideas that never really went anywhere. I liked Langella's character, but I always like the "soft spoken, articulate & polite gentlemen" who are really the bad guys in movies. Some friends and I were actually "extras" in this film, and even WE don't get it! First of all, Diaz and that damn phony "southern" accent!!! It drove people who really ARE from around here CRAZY. We don't talk like that, y'all! Who was her voice coach? That is more of an "Atlanta" or at the closest, "South Carolina" accent. Another thing - I realize that Kell's father worked on the Mars Viking project at NASA Langley in the 70's, but we kinda got a kick out of people "working" at Langley (Hampton VA) but that "lived" in Richmond VA! (Do a Google map some time, that'd be a b!tch of a commute every day!) Checking around at other websites, there are some explanations... How Marsden gets from the "car being T-boned by the snow plow" scene to the "hangar" scene... and the stuff that is in the trailer that is not in the movie (as was mentioned above, AND in the driving scene where Woodle tells Marsden that "Your wife is going to die... You're going to kill her"). I agree. Wait until it comes out on DVD!!! Maybe the director's cut will have more answers!?!?!? You CAN see my old muscle car in one of the scenes though!!!

John V. on Nov 10, 2009


I'll let you know my opinion when it hits DVD. I still don't know why they felt the need to tack on all that extra story to "Button, Button" which was it's own classic story.

Fed Up With Hollywood on Nov 11, 2009


This movie was the most confusing movie I have ever seen in my entire life. At the end of the movie a girl sitting in front of me actually stood up and was like "WHO ELSE IS CONFUSED" It definetley wasn't boring, just really creepy, confusing, andd eerie. I mean I like having to figure out complex movies but I dont think anyone is going to be able to explain this one. if you can, please post an explanation. and wait, were they in purgatory?

sat what? on Nov 14, 2009


What did I think? I think The Box is the best film of 2009 and perhaps the best film of the last 5 years. Kelly might as well call himself Stanley Kubrick because that's the level of grandiose filmmaking he's now achieved. And I don't really care if no one agrees with me. When a movie like Transformers makes a bazillion dollars at the box office, I'm not sure I want anyone to agree with me.

IY on Nov 15, 2009


Ok well the movie it self is a puzzle what it entails is just a simple fact humans are dumb and repeat the same mistakes. For example in the beginning some one has to die in order for the family to recieve money and then at the end Diaz dies so some one else pressed the button. This goes on and on until only the people who are "clean stay on earth" it's kind of like a revolution of people with pure heart and the button is the solution attached to it some mysticism and " magic" . Ok now if what I wrote makes any sense this was my understanding of this movie.

Alex on Dec 12, 2009


How do I begin? The trailer for the film was very interesting. I chose this movie for my wife and me to watch on Valentines Day...I know...bad choice for Valentines Day. Well it was a bad choice for any other day as well. This film reminds me of a person who just starts talking without having any idea which direction he is going with the story. Great plot initially, but then it was like the writer dropped some acid and just started writing stuff down while he was tripping. I honestly don't even know why I am on this website voicing my opinion on a movie that I didn't even like at all. I actually ended up here doing a search for other interpretations of this film. I have found from other comments here that no one really has a clear interpretation of it. (I don't join the club)

Tommy on Feb 14, 2010


I thought that if we hit the button we are some desperate people and need to die, but its only a movie and I hope that no one hits the button.

Michael on Feb 25, 2010


#18 what did you mean an interesting decision was reached by the couple at the end? It seemed their decision was exactly what you would expect? I "got" the movie, but I think there was a lot that did not have a point, thus no need to "get" it. What the hell was with the babysitter girl? Why would she have him take her to a hotel, and why all the weirdos staring at her? What would have happened if he picked the wrong water box? What did the guy at the end mean by you and your son will be taken care of? Was he not going to jail? Why did he not pass the NASA psychological test? Was that just a set up? The movie did not suck in that it kept you riveted, but I think the concept could have made a much better movie.

Lesley on Mar 6, 2010


For me, this movie suggests that We are all being tested by God to see if we can rise above our basic animal state and transcend into a state where we think beyond ourselves to think of others. Diaz, realizing their error in choosing the million dollars and allowing someone to die, asks if they can be forgiven. The couple is redeemed and forgiven because they finally sacrifice themselves and choose the well-being of another person, this time their son, over themselves. What a metaphor for all of us. We all push "the button" every day. The person who chooses to drive a Mercedes while someone else dies of hunger in Bangladesh. The stockbroker who makes millions knowing that his companies are cutting down the rainforest. For all of us who eat meat but can't watch animals slaughtered. We all make decisions to make our own lives more comfortable because we can look away and ignore the suffering of others beings. We can live with the suffering of others as long as we don't have to see it. God always teaches us by doing unto us eventually as we have done unto others. Until we feel the same pain as others, we are unfortunately unable to put ourselves fully into the shoes of others. The characters in "The Box" finally get it in the end. And finally do the right thing. As should we all.

boxlover on Mar 20, 2010


I'm not sure I buy the idea that they "get it in the end and finally do the right thing." I followed you, boxlover, up until that point. Why would people suddenly "get it" after choosing poorly the first time? You say that they sacrificed themselves at the end to save their son... However, their son was not going to die and he would have had a disability to live through just as she did. Based upon the earlier themes in the movie, I have to wonder if they simply chose poorly again! Also, the "feel" of the movie doesn't set it up for a peachy-keen ending. I'm thinking more tragic. Perhaps it is in a similitude of us being tested by God, but perhaps it is more of a cynical view, that we rarely do what God wants us to do. Kill your wife so your child can see and hear again? I don't know about you guys and gals, but I love my spouse more than I love my children. You can say that this is a horrible thing to say, but remember that the only reason their child was even in that situation was due to the fact that they had already screwed up. At this point, perhaps it would have been better to cut your losses and just ended the whole thing and learn to take care of and learn from your disabled son! Anyways, I'm not saying this view is correct and wonder if the director even knows or wants us to figure anything out. I'm just offering an alternative.

Kellen on Mar 26, 2010


life is a series of choices. Man is not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. What seperates people is that some learn from their mistakes and other keep repeating the same mistakes. Ironically, It is these very mistakes that bring us all to a higher level of self-awareness and consciousness. For it is only when we torment our souls that we have any meaningful self reflection. Therefore, people are not damned for their mistakes, but when they don't learn from them. The best of us, not only learns from them, but tries to teach others not to make the same mistakes - especially our children. That is the ultimate redemption - teaching others not to repeat your mistakes....God bless us all..

ken on Mar 26, 2010


I watched the movie with my girlfriend and at the end we were both incredibly confused. I am usually pretty lenient toward rating movies, so I felt the need to check online to see if anyone else fully understood it or enjoyed it before concluding it was a horrible movie. I think I understood that it was supposed to be a choice between the good of society and the individual and it was cicular, but it seemed incredibly inconsistent and random. Did anyone think the ending was appropriate/ not tragic? I feel like the director must have been high or drunk when he wrote the last hour of it. I thought the trailer was so interesting and intriguing, but the movie seemed to be a complete letdown. I feel like only hardcore religious people would find it consistent.

Justin on Mar 27, 2010


I watched the movie tonight and thought it was terrible. Although the plot initially was interesting I felt like they piled plot twist after plot twist ontop one another just for the sake of doing so. Had the writer/director not been so obsessed with making a "psychologically challenging suspense" movie, they could have used the intriguing plot in a simple way and made a way better movie. Also, the acting was a little rough but it seemed more a result of a poorly written script rather than acting ability.

Movie Dude on Mar 27, 2010


To respond to Kellen: If you watch the movie carefully you will understand that the son was to be healed if the husband killed Diaz. She agrees to die to save her son from having the disability. She chooses his well-being over hers. Thus, she redeems herself. The husband gets carried off to jail. But he does this also to save his son. Thus, he also redeems himself by choosing the well-being of the son over his own. Both wife and husband understand they will be forgiven for past sins for this action. boxlover

boxlover on Mar 30, 2010


SPOILER ALERT...loved donny darko and love movies with twists. that being said this movie was painful to watch. i totally understand the whole exploration of human nature in the movie and thats all fine and dandy but the way in which the events unfold seem very uneccasary. i think the message behind the movie is very easy to understand, simple even. its never good to take a million dollars in exchange for a human life. duh i get it. however the meaningless running aroung, transporting, ending up at the same place unexplained is indeed confusing, useless and stupid. and can someone attempt to explain the ending. specifically 1. why did he get taken away by the gov after getting un cuffed by the cops? and 2. who the hell was in the window with the son at the end and why did it seem significant (i.e. Mr. Anderson looking up and nodding)? o ya and i think its unfair of the aliens or "employers" to trick norma into pressing the button if theyre attempting to come to accurate conclusions from the "test". i say trick because the principal (employee) purposefully makes pressing the button seem more enticing by informing her of the tuition problem or whatever. just my opinion. poor quality movie. good idea poorly executed. horrible accents by all. hated the score and camera angles and most of the cinematography. liked the idea of killing cameron in order to save the son. and when was that included as a stipulation in the deal? just wondering. and is it just me or does it seem like everything that happened to them in the movie wasnt exactly a direct result of them pressing the button but instead a result of them investigating? i think thats dumb too. and finally if the next couple had chose not to press the button would he still have shot his wife?... sorry for the lack of organization but im just going of the top of my head, just watched the movie. thanks

david on Apr 13, 2010


Dear david, You pose a good question when you ask "Why wasn't it stipulated to Cameron when she pushed to button that ultimately she would have to die to save her son?" Most people do not grasp that there will ultimately one day be a price to pay for sins they commit - if they truly grasped that, they wouldn't commit them. The real question always remains - why does God choose to educate us in the way he does? We of course do not know, and that leads to the question of faith. One must have faith that there is somehow a purpose for all suffering that we do not fully understand. boxlover

boxlover on Apr 13, 2010


can xrays really cut your toes off?... yall should all watch martyrs

david on Apr 13, 2010


Too much extra 'artsy' stuff. Specifically too much uninteresting arsty stuff. Loved Donnie Darko for the same reason I disliked this. Darko was weird(er)and more abstract, but was simply presented in a much more compelling fashion, largely in part to a very charismatic performance by Gyllenhaal. I feel a little cheated when a movie with an apparently basic premise is portrayed as if many more layers will be revealed throughout the film, with all sorts of little subplots and interestingly mysterious characters being introduced throughout. It builds a sense of anticipation that ultimately leaves you with "blue balls of the brain" when left unfulfilled in the final moments. It seems unfair and is simply not much fun to watch. I guess if you're into being led astray for no reason (or payoff), or having that "what the fuck was that?" feeling, you might dig this film. If I want to feel uncomfortable but "in a good way", I'll watch A Clockwork Orange or one of many Lynch films, etc. A movie that can be easy to understand yet bizarre at the same time is quite a task by itself. Then, unless you're intentionally trying to piss your audience off, you need to make it entertaining as well. At least 99 out of 100 agree that Diaz sucked.

Galaxie5OO on Apr 18, 2010


The ideas in this movie are not complex at all and certainly not hard to understand. What makes the movie confusing is the insertion of a bunch of Sci-Fi "stuff" that does nothing to move the movie within it's moral dillema. For example: the light portal after the car crash, the fact that our "Box Keeper" is only an employee, the library scene in it's entirety (while cool) does nothing to move the story and seems inserted for the sole purpose of getting Marsden to the water portal. The ideas are cool but the movie fails by "inserting" scenes for the sake of it.

DJ on Apr 18, 2010


i agree with #51. I guess it isn't the plot that was hard to understand.. The plot is simply, some sort of higher power (God or Alien, whatever) has decided to 'test' the human species and if enough people press the button, the species will be exterminated. The confusion is raised against the unecessary events: 1) If the employees have their bodies taken over, then why do some of them snap out of their zombie comas and help Marsden/Diaz out by hinting them clues. ie, the boy hinting portal 2, the babysitter telling him to follow the light, the lady handing the slip to Diaz at the supermarket. 2) what was the whole point of Marsden choosing a portal and transporting home only to go to a party, get hit by a truck, and then get transported to the NASA place? 3) Why did twoface seem like he was compassionate for Diaz in the library, asks her to give her hand to him ? 4) what was meant by twoface's message to Diaz before he left their house? something with a quote from an author... 5) what exactly was the point of the clip Diaz watched in the library? 6) why was it significant that twoface was once part of the NASA? 7) whats with the swimming pool/water??? 8) why did twoface reply "follow your conscience" when Diaz asked what they should do now. wasnt everything planned for them already?? 9) if they didnt investigate 2 face, could they have lived happily ever after with their money? then why did the same exact events happen to Marsden's friend? DID THEY INVESTOGATE TWOFACE TOOO? and many many more ridiculous , unecessary details that were added to the movie.. i am not confused, because their ARE NO explanations to these events. they were just thrown in and forgotten about. potentially good movie but i am disappointed i wasted $4.99 on video on demand for this.

peony on May 8, 2010


To resond to #52, I think the whole movie is one big metaphor for life and our sins. So everything that occurs in the movie must be seen a part of the metaphor, and much of the movie is symbolic. Thus I don't think it is to be viewed as realism. When the husband is transported through the portal he sees heaven before he returns to his wife. A "water portal" is an image reminiscent of the birth of a baby. He sees heaven and then returns, reborn, new in understanding that there is something greater at work. Twoface is compassionate just as God is compassionate even while he gives us hard lessons to teach us what is right. Thus also "follow your conscience" - Why the hints along the way from various people? God gives us hints all the time about what we should do. Big hints and small hints. He gave us Christ to show us the correct path. God stops short of talking to us directly, but the path is clearly laid out for us. The movie is a metaphor of all of this, that God lets us make our own choices and learn our own lessons, the easy way or the hard way. Boxlover

boxlover on May 9, 2010


#46....Funny how you think you know this movie like the back of your hand....and you scolded someone for not "watching the movie carefully", but had YOU watched the movie carefully you would have noticed that at the end the husband DOESN'T go to jail....his handcuffs are released and the "military" guys that were outside of the NASA warehouse earlier in the movie put him in an NSA vehicle. I understand you are relating this movie and the "employers" to God testing us....but honestly I don't think that the NSA would be insterested in the God theory. Remember to the begining of the movie with the Mars Project and all that jazz? I'm pretty sure he was going with an Independence Day type of thing with the aliens testing our race to see if we are worthy. As far as the metaphor you are speaking of....I agree, that God does give us the chance to make our own choices and run with them, free will and all of that....but I really don't think the director was going for that. All in all, the movie itself served it's make people continually talk about it. The director simply wants us to decide for ourselves what we thought the movie was about, the moral of the story and all that good stuff, but for "entertainment value" I'd rather watch flys screw. I waited for it to come out on DVD just due to the horrible reviews it received, and if the director expects someone to pay $10 to see a movie, then for God's sake, make it worth the money....this was more of a RedBox dollar rental and smoke pot and discuss the Universe type of movie....

JD on May 19, 2010


Was I the only person that thought the 'alien' was a jerk. Testing us to see if we are worthy. Giving people a death box and then washing his hands of the whole thing. And the choose the right water casket thing or eternal damnation was stupid. What is this. Lets make a deal.

quasar on May 23, 2010


I love Don's comment, I should really look into that SNL skit. I did enjoy Richard Kelly's musical score though! I enjoyed how he finds exactly the right song. (

richard_kelly_fan on Jun 21, 2010


I think i 'got' most of the film ....but i agree with David when he says 'finally if the next couple had chose not to press the button would he still have shot his wife?…' That is my only problem with the film ... he killed his wife to save his son having to live with a disability right? which had nothing to do with the other couple pressing the button !. If they had chosen not to press the button then in order to save his son he would have had to kill her anyway ...... So by pressing the button you are determining your own fate ....or maybe that IS the point hmmmm

kate on Jun 25, 2010


My husband and I just watched this movie over the weekend and was confused by the end. We understood pretty much the whole movie except the ending. Arthur wasn't arrested, they took the handcuffs off and put him in a black car (NSA) not a police car so where was he going and why didnt the police take him . And then Arthur's boss said we would take care of the son, but who was the guy behind the son. I felt it left some unanswered questions lingering.

cassandra on Aug 23, 2010


Like the guy from post #28 and #33 says: where are the scenes that appears at the trailer? Not only when the couple are into a kind of elevator (and you're right there's a button like the box has it, very similar watch 1:35 from the original trailer) Then there's another scene where Cameron is at the top of any kind of metal tower pointing his finger to anything (1:43 from the trailer). It might be more scenes that brings some coherence to the film. For the moment there's no extended or director's cut editon, isn't? So, why this footage appears at the trailer?

Guest on Oct 3, 2010


Ok so its 5 am and i just got done watching the movie. Intriguing, interesting, but left me confused and without a lot of answers. A lot of them already mentioned by #52. I somewhat agree that this is a huge comparison to human free will and sins..i.e. being ok with making our lives easier at the expense of other living beings on earth if we don't have to see or know of their suffering. I get that. However I question if it was as simple as that due to the half face guy telling his employee that our bodies are a box, our cars are a box on wheels, we live in a box- our house, to only watch a box that erodes our soul--- or something like that. So, if this is true per the half face guy, then the parents were saving their son to what would be in their eyes as a great life, a full life. But to the half face guy, it would be saving sight and hearing to just live life as another box in a box-worshiped world, that would 30+ years later be a celebrity-following, facebook and twitter obsessed society. Where most things are just filling our eyes, ears heads and souls with garbage. He gives Norma some quote about "In the final chamber you are either free or not free its our choice".. Well is being "free" living life with our children disabled or not, knowing there are more important things beyond our imagination beyond this life/world (and teaching them this as well) or dying knowing there are things more important in this world so someone can experience this one? a Here are my questions/statements. If anyone has any answers please let me know. 1 Was the son dead in the bathroom? It looked like it (he stopped yelling and just laid there, before norma was shot, and afterwards he took a second before he came back up..), and if he was dead, it looked like he was going to die anyways if the wife stayed alive. 2 What WAS the point of the movie in the library????????? I guess to discover what her husband already found out from his basement? that the guy was a former nasa employee??? 3 Was the test the husband took for the NASA project a pre-requisite for this test? He was given the box hours before finding out he failed his NASA test. Did he fail 1) because they tested his frontal lobe in the psychological test and 2) accepted the box from what was then from an unknown individual? Or did he fail just because they accepted the box into their home earlier that morning? 4 The husband's boss said to him "Anything that happens to you after this has ramifications beyond your imagination" matter what decision he and his wife were to make, it sounds like they were fucced. IMO. 5 I guess the husband was shipped off to be a permanent employee (IMO) at the end of the movie. Cause he failed the test once they pushed the button. 6 Why does NASA want to test all these people anyways?? 7 Since NASA and the govt knew about life beyond earth, I guess all that exploring-space-talk during the 70s was just puppeterring, money making and a big ass gimmick for society? 8 And I got the impression that the babysitter was an example of things/people being put in place long before they even were tempted with the box. 9 And it bothered me a lot that the wife and husband found out things that they didn't share with each other- like the woman in the grocery store, the call at the rehearsal party, the discovery of the man being in the picture in the basement, and the movie in the library. 10 Final one and I'll begin to close..I would of shot the guy. "They" would of sent for another one. I'm guessing the aliens from above because the government can't command lightening. So are the aliens his boss and the govt were his employees? Looks like it........Or was HE an experiment by the government too to summon the aliens??? Thats all it takes?? All that space exploration for nothing!!! LOL. I found it ironic that Norma was able to put herself in the half face guy's "shoes" in the library, comparing her pain with her foot to the pain he must feel in his face at the moment she met him, but wasn't able to put herself in the shoes of the person who was about to die once she pushed the button. Also, at the end of the movie, you see that the box doesn't result in the designation of any specific unknown person to die upon the push of the button. Yes someone dies, but its not because Norma pushed the button. The death exists to happen simply because there is someone in the world who coincidentally went through the same test you are about to enter. They've just entered its the final phase- the decision to kill the wife or to live and keep a disabled child. I think thats their way of showing how many people were choosing to accept the money over someone else's life. Someone is guaranteed to die at the push of the button cause so many people were failing it in the first place. Sorry for any typos.

KM on Oct 31, 2010


the director just wants to f@#$$ with the audience. there are no answers to the question except the moral of greed. Good short story but Terrible remake movie. the director sucks in my opinion and should die like his characters in his lame pathetic movies!

Arthur Mitchell on Nov 21, 2010

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