Their Fate Rests in Your Hands: The Box Movie Explanation

Monday, October 17 by Matthew Sweder

Interested in "The Box" movie explanation?  "The Box" is a suspense driven movie directed by Richard Kelly ("Donnie Darko"), starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden.  The movie is adapted from the short story, "Button, Button" written by Richard Matheson ("I am Legend") which later inspired a "Twilight Zone" episode.

"The Box" is filled with a whole heap of irrelevant science fiction and enough nosebleeds to presumably believe the entire budget was blown on a feces-ton of cocaine.

The film starts off with the Lewis family, a husband who works for NASA, a wife and a son named Walter, living on a limited salary, receiving a mysterious package on their doorstep.  Inside the package is a black box containing a single red button under a glass dome and a note.  The note informs them that a man by the name of Mr. Steward will arrive to explain the details.

Arlington Steward is the face on the box "experiment," though he only has half a face from some sort of freak lightning accident.  Mr. Steward very simply informs Mrs. Lewis that if the button is pushed on the box, two things will happen: she will be granted one million dollars, and someone whom she does not know will die, and she has 24 hours to make her decision.  After a bunch of unnecessary scenes of rehearsal dinners and NASA lab shots, she decides to push the button.  Mr. Steward comes back, gives them the million dollars as promised and assures them the box will be reprogrammed and given to someone else they do not know.

After the button is pushed and the box in taken to be given to another couple, one would think the movie is ending, but instead they decide to throw in a whole bunch of sci-fi material at the audience about lightning and Mars.

It turns out that when Arlington Steward was struck by lightning, he actually died, but then his body was abducted by some sort of Martian creature to conduct an experiment of greed and temptation on the human race.  It is a test to see if the human society can put greater good before their own personal dilemmas.

There is a whole scene in the film where Arthur Lewis is in the library of public records being followed by a bunch of people who are presumably under the control of the Mr. Steward creature, where he runs into three gates, one leading to salvation and the other two to eternal damnation.  Every second after the accepted climax of pressing the button is absolutely pointless.  Once aliens are introduced into any story, all logical reasoning and theory goes right out the window.

In the film adaptation, if you choose to push the button, your fate is determined by the decision of the next family's opportunity to push the button.  It, in fact, is not random, but instead straight down the line.  If you push the button, your child will be locked in the upstairs bathroom, and the husband is handed a gun with the choice to live with his son without two of his senses, or murder his wife for his son to regain his senses.  The family who contained the box before the Lewis family found themselves in the same predicament, which is why when Mrs. Lewis pushed the button, the husband shot his wife.  The family after the Lewis family will go through the same scenario, and when they push the button, Mr. Lewis will shoot Mrs. Lewis.  It's a vicious cycle.

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