The director of cult films Donnie Darko and Southland Tales returns with another mind-boggling thriller starring Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella. Screening followed by an onstage conversation with Richard Kelly. Admission: $15 member/student; $18 senior; $20 public.
Virginia,1976: soon after high school teacher Norma Lewis (Diaz) and her NASA engineer husband Arthur (James Marsden) discover they’re facing financial hardship, a package is delivered to the house early one morning. Inside is a mysterious box with a large red button on top. Shortly after, a dapper stranger with half his face missing (Frank Langella) pays Norma a visit and explains all: if she presses the button, somewhere, someone she doesn’t know will die—and will then receive a briefcase containing a million dollars.... From this moral “thought experiment” Kelly embarks on another delirious journey through the looking glass wormhole into the hidden dimensions underneath the so-called reality.
“The Box worries out the ethical, existential, and metaphysical consequences of murdering a stranger... Kelly jumps “to the other side” of Richard Matheson’s original story: where does the box come from? What does it mean? Could the people who push that button ever redeem themselves, and if so, how? Thrown into the mix: Martian contact, space-time rifts, interdimensional travel, a vague conspiracy of inscrutable cultists and tranced-out zombies, resurrection, the potential for lightning strikes to uncork supernatural phenomenon, and Jean-Paul Sartre.”—Nathan Lee, Film Comment, Nov/Dec 2009
Richard Kelly, USA, 2009; 115m
Film Comment Selects is sponsored by Stella Artois and the National Endowment for the Arts.