Monday, November 8, 2010

Would You Press the Button?

Don't you hate getting sucked in by a lousy movie?  I had the misfortune of seeing the movie The Box last month.  Though it started off promising with a fantastically interesting premise, it ended up taking two hours of my life that I will never get back.

SPOILERS AHEAD:  If you haven't seen the movie, you should probably stop reading now. 

Is the promise of one million dollars worth the death of another human being who you do not know?  I say no because it is unconscionable to profit so mightily at the expense and suffering of another.  I think it's a no-brainer that nothing happens without consequence and you would not press the button. 

Who could live with the knowledge that they caused the death of another human being just so they could have some money?  Who could ever use or enjoy such blood money anyway?  Who would press that freaking button???  The simple answer is the characters portrayed by Cameron Diaz and James Marsden.

They press the button, get their money, and someone they do not know dies.  In a twist that anyone who wasn't blind or deaf knew was coming, the mysterious stranger who delivered the box and the money tosses out that he'll be giving the box to someone who they do not know.  The implication, of course, is that one of them will die if the next couple chooses the money.

Ta-da!  It's like an O. Henry retread, but it works and it was entertaining.  Had they stopped the movie there, it would have been perfect.  But, in typical Hollywood fashion, they stretch it out to two hours and make a delightful twist take a lametastic turn.  I won't even get into the silliest parts of the movie, but the ending itself was pretty terrible.

The ending got a little, okay a lot, convoluted and their son ended up being blind and deaf.  He was also locked in a bathroom for some reason.  Apparently a side effect of blindness and deafness is that you can't stand, but that's just me being snarky. 

If the father kills the mother, the child's senses would be restored.  If the father does not kill the mother, their son will be forever blind and deaf.  Pretty ugly choices, sure, but the family was together and those aren't the worst disabilities one could face.

What do these dolts decide to do?  Kill the mother.

Before delivering a shot to the heart, the father tries to break down the bathroom door to get to their son, who is understandably freaked out.  The mother, who was going to die, stopped him and mentioned that she didn't want to see her son in that state.  Er, what?!

The movie was preposterous enough, but I think that it was incredibly unbelievable that the mother did not ache to see and hold her child while he was confused and hurting.  He may not have been able to see or hear her, but he could certainly feel her arms wrapped around him and her lips covering his face with kisses.  He'd know she was there for him. 

The greedy b*tch not only pressed a button to receive money knowing that someone else would die due to her actions, but she chose to die without holding her son one last time.  I can see being greedy, we're all greedy about certain things, but I can't see a mother being so heartless.

I didn't feel bad for either of the main characters, but I felt bad for their son.  He was innocent and being punished for the transgressions of his parents.  He wasn't given any love and compassion at an incredibly frightening time.  Worse, his own mother rejected him - going so far as to die without saying goodbye - due to a physical problem.

More than my annoyance with the entire movie, I was quite irritated at the underlying message that I feel the ending conveyed.  It's better to die than have a handicapped child?  It's better to be orphaned than to be handicapped?  Money is worth more than family?  I don't look to Hollywood to send a moral message that I agree with, but this movie was so far off the mark it was just ridiculous.

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