Saturday, November 14, 2009

"The Box" & Richard Kelly

We saw the movie The Box this week. Written and directed by Richard Kelly, it's his second movie since Donnie Darko(now a cult favorite). The Box takes its main theme from a short story by Richard Matheson, also featured in an old episode of The Twilight Zone, titled Button, Button. The Box is in no way a feel-good movie, in fact if there is such a thing, it's a feel-bad movie. It's also a movie that made us think. I'm still thinking about it, so it can't be all bad.

This movie reminded me of a surrealist painting or poem, or certain enigmatic song lyrics: it can be interpreted in more ways than one. There's a straightforward, if weird, storyline (from Richard Matheson's plot) : a married couple is faced with a mysterious option of pressing a button to make themselves wealthy, but in doing so they would cause the death of a stranger. This original line is expanded by Kelly in the movie to put it into a specific context. There are lots of extraneous, often pointless and possibly self-indulgent, bits thrown into the almost 2 hour long film. But as with a surrealist painting or poem, parts which seemed pointless initially might start to become significant after further consideration.

I will not give away more of the plot, but should a passing reader be interested a full synopsis can be found at Wikipedia.

Towards the end of the movie I'd come to the conclusion that, more than a fantasy, or a sci fi tale or off-beat thriller, it was an allegory. I haven't seen any reports of other viewers seeing it as such though. I can't explain in detail without giving away the plot, but standing a long way back from the details of the storyline, I reckon it could be looked into being an allegory for what has happend to the USA and other western countries, over the time span from 1976 when the movie is set, to the present. Greed of people who already had "enough", at the expense of others either in their own country or abroad, about whom they knew or cared nothing. The result: hundreds of thousands of dead civilians abroad, tens of thousands of people dying needlessly in the USA for lack of proper health care, when the country should be wealthy enough and successive governments should have been skilled and caring enough to have devised a national health care plan. I might be wrong, of course - the complication and peculiarities of the plotlines might have addled my brain.

Let's have a look at Richard Kelly's natal chart. Born 28 March 1975 in Newport News, Virginia. No time of birth available so a 12 noon chart is shown below. Rising sign and Moon degree will not be accurate.

At 34 Kelly is young to have three movies to his name. Aries Sun conjunct Jupiter indicate his go-getting attitude, impetuous and risk-taking. Pluto lies in exact opposition to his natal Sun; I see this as a reflection of the darkness which seeps through his movies; oppositions tend to balance polarities, so Pluto is balancing the lightness and brightness of his Sun with a touch of darkness, which may never come out in real life, but manifests on screen.

It's a pity there's no time of birth available to pinpoint the Moon's exact degree. At noon it was around 7 degrees from Uranus (planet of forward looking stuff, the unexpected, sci-fi etc.) A birth time late in the day could put Moon and Uranus closely conjoined, which I see as a good fit, for the Moon relates to his inner self. Even as it stands, at 12 noon, Moon and Uranus are close enough to be termed conjoined, though in different signs (Libra and Scorpio). Mars in Aquarius might well be in helpful trine to natal Moon (again no time of birth to establish this) and if so, it underlines again the quirky Uranus link to Moon, because Uranus rules Aquarius.

Venus, planet of the arts is at home in Taurus. In a biography we're told that Kelly was drawn to art proper in youth - the pull towards film came a little later. Neptune is the planet most connected to film and creativity by astrologers, and here it lies in harmonious trine to Kelly's Sun, from Sagittarius. Mercury, the communication and writing planet in imaginative Pisces lies in another harmonious trine to Saturn in Cancer. Linking Mercury and Saturn means, to me, that the message communicated will not necessarily be all sweetness and light, but in this case because both are found in Water signs, there will be deep emotional content.


Wisewebwoman said...

I am curious to see this one, T, having read the work on which it was based.
And yes, I believe it is allegorical also. We need the button to illustrate the point.
Very dark piece.

anthonynorth said...

I haven't seen it but it sounds intriguing. The best horror and sci fi forms a similar allegory. Often writing at its best.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Let us know your impression if you do see it - I'd be interested. Yes, it's very dark - I bet I don't feel as depressed after watching "2012" later this week as I did after seeing this one. :-)

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ Yes, that's true. :-)