Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Box: Go On, Press The Button, No One Cares

Brief, disorganized, overly harsh words on the film and its creator.

The third film from Donnie Darko and Southland Tales writer/director Richard Kelly, The Box, which was shot on the most reviled instrument in modern motion picture technology, the Panavision Genesis (if you enjoy blurry masses of ugly visual information, by all means make your film on that monstrosity), and it is the definitive confirmation of Kelly's absolute fraudulence as a filmmaker. Over his past three films, I've grown almost completely cool to the limited charms of Kelly (producer of I Hope They Fucking Serve Beer In Fucking Hell) who seems to me like a 12 year old who found his father's copy of Beyond Good and Evil and started writing overly complex in structure, woefully facile in concept screenplays that use terror and tragedy in the same way his pal Tucker Max uses the grotesqueries of homophobia, misogyny and racism to "shock" his audience. Some people take this as a cue to rally behind his films and say that they're getting at large issues and handling them in elegant and complex ways, but by his third film it's clear he's most interested in promoting himself, and his work, above all else.

By reusing the same themes and techniques film after film, the same stable of character actors, the same sort of stunt casting that his fans use as evidence of his eccentricity and brilliance, he's promoting the idea of Richard Kelly: Auteur, Genius, Brilliant, Misunderstood man behind-the-curtain. What he actually is is a juvenile purveyor of weak science-fiction with an adolescent obsession with space and astronauts, secret books and societies whose codes explain the chaos of the world and the overarching corruption of all government. This is not allegory or metaphor, it's a childish means of provoking an audience. In this instance, to this mind, the only thing it provoked was anger and boredom.