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Out of the box

hollywood Updated: Jul 23, 2011 14:24 IST
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The box
Eagle Home, Rs 399
Rating: **1/2
Those who have watched Donnie Darko know that director Richard Kelly can easily inhabit that terrifying grey zone usually lorded over by David Lynch. It’s the uncomfortable and wide space between the known knowns and the unknown unknowns, to borrow from the vocabulary of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld. There’s a unique mixture of science and faith that keeps us riveted — a recipe M Night Shyamalan uses regularly.

Norma and Arthur are a hardworking couple in a financial crunch. At such a time, a prim visitor, the left side of whose otherwise composed face seems to be blown off, comes home with a black box that has a red button. If they push the button within a day, someone unknown to the couple will die and they will receive a million dollars. As they agonise over the decision, Arthur, a Nasa scientist, opens the box and finds there’s nothing in it. But Arthur’s recalcitrant stepson Walter may have made the decision for them.

Donnie Darko’s success at keeping even disbelievers riveted had much to do with the nuances Jake Gyllenhaal’s straight face could portray. In this case, Frank Langella’s majestic deadpan as the box bearer goes some way in setting in the chill. But Cameron Diaz as Norma and James Marsden as Arthur are too peripatetic. But then, theirs is a dreadful dilemma.