The Box

Directed by Richard Kelly (Darko Entertainment)

Richard Kelly refused to hold the audience's hand in his excellent directorial debut, Donnie Darko, so it's surprising that his lack of restraint cripples this thriller. James Marsden and Cameron Diaz, a married couple in 1970s Virginia, face temptation when a disfigured mystery man (Frank Langella) delivers the titular box and explains that pushing its red button will result in a million-dollar payout and the death of a stranger. Think they'll do it? Kelly dithers too long with the deliberation before hurtling into a conspiracy story involving NASA, the NSA and suspicious nosebleeds. The big secrets, which we learn from expository dialogue, are as disappointing as the way they're revealed, the choice to tell rather than show, draining the movie of any suspense.

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