3 1/2 StarsAfter the debacle that was Southland Tales, Richard Kelly is back with a film that is insightful, creepy and thrilling. A couple receive a strange box with a big red button in it. Once pushed they will be granted one million dollars, but someone they don’t know will die. The mystery of The Box is masterfully laid out. James Marsden and Cameron Diaz are both stellar in their roles as the married couple; Diaz especially shines here proving that she’s come a long way from the sexpot in goofy comedies. Frank Langella plays the man who delivers the box and the money. He’s a burn victim who’s lost half his face, and even though he claims he is not a monster, his eerie presence says something quite the contrary.
The question of whether or not to push the button would be enough for most films, but it’s after answering this question that things get very interesting. There are so many nooks and crannies in this story to get lost in, and granted a lot of the meaning will change from viewer to viewer. If you look for the clues early on, you will be rewarded in the end. This movie has kept me thinking ever since my first viewing, and I continue to contemplate the ideas at its core. It’s no wonder the basis for the film, the short story “Button, Button” by Richard Matheson, had already been adapted into a Twilight Zone episode. This is Kelly at his best, in both directing and writing. A perfect blend of science fiction and suspense.