Box, The

Featured In Issue 147, March/April 2010

WSR Score4.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Thematic elements, some violence and distubing images
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Richard Kelly
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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What if someone gave you a box containing a button that, if pushed, would bring you a million dollars...but simultaneously take the life of someone you don't know? Would you do it? The year is 1976 and Norma (Diaz) and Arthur (Marsden) Lewis are an average couple living a normal life in the suburbs with their young son...until a mysterious man appears and presents them with a life-alternating proposition: The Box. With only 24 hours to make their choice, Norma and Arthur face a momentous moral dilemma. And they soon discover that the
ramifications of this decision extend far beyond their own fortune and fate. Based on the short story "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director/Writer Richard Kelly, the featurette The Box: Grounded In Reality (SD 10:42), an interview with Writer Richard Mattheson (SD 04:54), three visual effects revealed with Visual Effects Editor Dylan Highsmith (HD 03:55), music video prequels in three exhibits (HD 09:14), a standard DVD version, and a digital copy of the film.

The 1080p 2.40:1 VC-1 picture was digitally photographed with the Panavision Genesis HD Camera. The impression is one of excellence, but there is a slight veil, which has a softening filtering effect to the imagery. Contrast appears to be slightly crushed, and the lighting casts a dulling presence to the imagery. Resolution is generally soft, particularly backgrounds. Lights often flare out of focus. Perhaps this is an intentional effect that the cinematographer and director were aiming for, to enhance the overall mysterious mood of the story. Colors are generally rendered naturally, with a slight desaturated effect. As the story unfolds, the picture appears to become further surreal at times, always intensifying the mystery. Blacks are deep and solid but appear crushed and undefined. Overall, the picture conveys an eerie emotional feeling that is effectively engaging. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is wonderfully haunting with its eerie music score, which is the driving emotional element. The orchestral recording is quite engaging, with a wide and deep soundstage, but generally with subtle surround presence. The other sound elements are conventionally produced, such as production dialogue. Occasionally a scene sounds alive, with aggressive surround, such as the wedding party scene, which projects wonderful holosonic® envelopment. Dialogue sounds perfectly natural and generally nicely integrated spatially. At times sound effects are effectively injected into the mix, which creates effective dynamic impact. This is a very spooky soundtrack, charged emotionally by the music score that is memorable. (Gary Reber)