User Reviews (12)

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  • A man and a woman, both with a dark past fall in love. They search for happiness, they want to get away and get a better life. People look real, there's great acting on all levels in here. The story is simple but emotional. There's love and desire and big money in a box ...I was left wondering about Life, love, money, hope and despair afterward. A simple story about the fundamentals in life. James Russo as Frank is great, he plays minimalistic, he just looks real, I believe in him. "The Box" is original, it don't smell like Hollywood at all. Very different, very good. Theresa Russel has another great role, she really shines, full of despair and emotions. Well crafted, great atmosphere, a small masterpiece.
  • miszel24 February 2005
    Lives up to the genre standard. An ex-con tries to go straight but also wants to get back money he's owed for the job that put him in prison. He meets a waitress who's also seen her share of trouble and they start up a tenuous relationship. Then there's a murder and things get complicated. It's noir so the plot isn't the main focus but the mood of the film is consistent and properly downbeat. The characters can't seem to shake the fate that hangs over them. The only thing that which was stood out as a mistake in judgment is the ending which comes too abruptly and seems tacked on from another film.

    James Russo is excellent in this film, his face has aged rapidly acquiring a toughness/grittiness to match that cold stare he's always displayed. To my surprise he also wrote the screenplay, and maybe if he acted in more films he scripted he'd be a better known actor.

    Theresa Russell, also getting more and more interesting with age gives a good performance as the waitress. There's also some excellent character work from Brad Dourif, Steve Railsback and Michael Rooker as the friend and the heavies, respectively.

    I really love this genre and I wholeheartedly recommend it for other fans.
  • This is an excellent movie that takes chances. The whole cast is great, but the standout is James Russo as Frank. Russo never goes over the top. Frank just wants to live his life quietly. He is forced into violence. Theresa Russell, Michael Rooker, and Steve Railsback also put in very good performances. It is very unpredictable.

    The Plot Is: When Frank and Dora (Theresa Russell) find a box full of money, other characters get involved including dirty cops.

    Usually James Russo is in Z-grade junk like ("Deep Core", "The House Next Door", "Sonic Impact") It is nice to see him in a good movie for once.

    In the end: If you want to see a solid crime drama, see "The Box"

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  • After three years in a penitentiary, the thief Frank Miles (Rene Russo) is released in probation. He is sent to a small town, where he lives in a very low budget hotel downtown and works as a mechanic in a junkyard. His best friend is Stan (Brad Dourif), an ex-small-time drug dealer, who became his friend in the prison. While having his meals in a simple restaurant, Frank meets the waitress Dora Baker (Theresa Russell), a woman with a hidden past, and they feel attracted for each other, starting a romance. Meanwhile, Frank tries to retrieve his US$ 200,000.00, left with a former partner, and Dora is threatened by her former husband, the scum Jake Ragna (Steve Railsback). When Dora finds a mysterious box hidden in her beautiful house, their troubles begin, as if it were the Pandora Box. "The Box" is a surprisingly good low-budget film-noir. Having a great low-paced dark story written by James Russo and very well developed characters, this movie is completely underrated in IMDb. The whole cast has an excellent performance, highlighting James Russo, maybe in his best role, and the good actress Theresa Russell. The pessimist and non-commercial storyline is very real, having no plot point or surprises, becoming darker and darker and without redemption, being a gem to be discovered by adults. Congratulations to James Russo, Richard Pepin, Theresa Russell and the cast and crew for such a good film. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "A Caixa" ("The Box")
  • ekisest6 July 2006
    This film is a surprise. When I started watching the DVD, I was sure it's a cheap, campy, B or C, D-series kind of movie. The kind that goes directly to DVD, after the test-projection. But no! As the story unfolded, I became more and more impressed. I knew Theresa Russel from a series of good films, such as Kazan's "Last Tycoon", where she made a wonderful debut. I also knew James Russo, but I didn't expect such a special performance. Perfectly paced by the director (whom I haven't heard of, before this film), the chain of events doesn't give you the time to wonder If they make any sense or not. You just go along, and accept that Russel's character has a mysterious ex-husband that drags her into dirty business, that the real cops never show up and so on. Leaving for Hawaii, with the girl and the money, would have been such a great ending, but, after all, the girl wasn't very clean, and neither were the money... Which leaves us with one of the most sympathetic killers I've seen in films the last years and an interesting paraphrase-ending to "The Treasure of Sierra Madre". Check out this film.
  • There is one thing that works better than a good twist: the absence of a twist when you are expecting one. Why? Because if this happens, it means the movie could surprise you, in the way it didn't choose the path you were thinking about. The Box falls in this category of films.

    In its dark, somber and rough style, The Box has elements of the film-noir genre: an ex-convict just released from prison, a small urban town, a femme-fatale and a load of money. And as soon we realize everything is going from bad to worst - following a pessimistic storyline - we know Frank is doomed from the first moment he was released from prison, just because he left unfinished businesses when he was arrested. And for that reason there is no possible redemption, even if we can see, for some moments, glimpses of a new life for the doomed hero.

    I like tragedies and doomed characters, and that's one of the reasons I liked The Box. Also, it's nice to see a thriller without a major twist in a time where every thriller marks its points by a closing twist. For this reason, The Box is surely an original piece or, at least, something different from the big-twist-ahead thrillers I've seen in the recent times. For its own good, The Box does not pretend to be smarter than its audience.
  • First off, "The Box" of the title doesn't appear until the final reel. Up to that point you will be enjoying some terrific performances by some very intriguing actors. James Russo is at the top of his game as a sympathetic con. Theresa Russell is sexy and somewhat mysterious as the femme. Brad Dourif is not instantly recognizable as Russo's pothead friend. Finally, Michael Rooker is very intimidating as the number one villain. The film has some sudden and not totally expected bursts of violence, and an ending that certainly is believable, if not totally satisfying. I give this one high marks, and consider it a well above average crime drama. - MERK
  • The Box is a moody little crime drama thriller starring James Russo, whose appropriately brooding persona lends itself to grim neo noir films such as these. He's an actor who has almost entirely worked in B movies for a long time, and while you have to watch out for most as they are usually genuine piles of dog excrement, this one is a jewel amongst the rubbish. Russo plays Frank Miles here, an ex con trying to go straight, sticking with the dead end job his P.O. has given him to stay out of trouble. Soon he meets beautiful waitress Dora (Theresa Russell) who falls in love with. The two of them try to start a new life together, but as we all know sometimes it's very hard to run from your past, and soon enough trouble comes looking for them. Frank tries to get some money owing to him from his sleazebag of an ex-associate Michael Dickerson (a detestable Jon Polito) and things go wrong. Violence ensues, and Frank finds himself in the possession of a mysterious box which he can't open and hasn't a clue about. Dora has a scumbag boyfriend in club owner Jake Ragna (a terrifying Steve Railsback) who is dangerous, volatile and obsessive about her. Soon, an evil corrupt Police Detective named Stafford (Michael Rooker) makes their lives hell as he searches for the box. Frank and Dora take refuge at the home of Stan (Brad Dourif, excellent), Frank's former cell mate, friend who is now a weed dealer. Even this may not be enough to keep them safe, as the long arm of the crooked law probes, and Stafford gets closer and closer. It's a depressing situation forged by bad decision and the perhaps inescapable knack for trouble that some people tend to have, whether it's coincidence or a measurable character flaw is eternally up for debate. The pair try so hard to fix their lives and still seem to be headed for a tragic dead end. Russo has sadness in his eyes in every role, as well as a boiling anger to match it, he fills out his protagonist very well. Rooker and Railsback make scary work of the two villains, especially Rooker who uses the kind of blatant brutality and abuse of power that are essential ingrediants in very dangerous men. Dourif is Dourif, which is never not mesmerizing, and Russell does the wounded angel thing down to the bone. A sad story, with a dream cast (for me, at least), a downbeat reflection on lives gone down the wrong path, a diamond in the rough noir thriller of the best kind.
  • wewa21 November 2003
    laconic old fashioned masterpiece, told very slow. if you don't like these better go off to bad boys II. I like Theresa Russel, she gives another excellent performance.
  • "The Box" was not a good movie. I thought the main character, Frank, was a brutal thug just released from prison and destined to go back. He solves problems with violence and, as I saw it, stalked a waitress he met. I think the movie tried to portray Frank as a victim of circumstance where he tries to go straight but is pulled back into crime by the bad influences around him. It was not successful. Frank made deliberate choices to use violence while trying to recover money from the crime he was imprisoned for. Was I to believe that this action was justified and correct? I didn't buy it. It's the skewed logic of a criminal mind that since they stole something then it is now theirs and they are justified in using any means to recover their property. Hey, it's stolen property. It doesn't belong to you. Then there is the whole other story about the waitress and her dysfunctional relationship that Frank sticks his nose into. The whole movie had this poorly contrived aura about it. It seemed that there was an ending, a poor ending, the writer had in mind and he just filled in some facts in the beginning to get the ending to happen. The performances by the principles were poor. Theresa Russell is capable of far better work and she did an OK job given the poor story but overall it wasn't that great. Brad Dourif seemed like he wanted to portray a tough guy by cursing and acting like a fool. He wasn't believable. The movie was a waste of time. Don't bother with it.
  • For the most part THE BOX is not a bad film but its not a very good film either, plainly put I had mixed reactions about this film, it had a good concept, the acting was above par, it maintains a slow pace throughout but when it ended I felt really disappointed because I waited for something big to happen and it never did, there was no major car chase scenes but there were a few quick shootouts nothing more, there is just nothing to get overly excited about in this film.

    However, what kept me watching was the fact that I liked the cast, James Russo, Brad Dourif, Theresa Russell and Micheal Rooker are always great to see on screen no matter how the movie is, also I can safely say director Richard Pepin has done better films in the past, so I can easily let this one slide Overall, it might be worth seeing but you won't miss anything.
  • The acting by Russo wasn't bad, but that's the best I can say about it. This is the worst movie that I have seen since The Thin Red Line and Lost in Translation. There are too many unanswered questions: How did the cops get involved? Who's money was it? Where did it come from? (Maybe the Greek Gods like in Clash of the Titans?) Why didn't the guy know about bullet proof vests? Why did Dora (Russell) have to say "They raped me"?

    It is terrible. Seeing Steve Railsback who looked worse with his lip gloss than my 93 y.o. grandmother when she misses with red lipstick.

    Russells' character was a stripper? Good thing they didn't show it. Maybe in the fifties?