Would you rob a bank if you could get away with it? Would you kill a stranger for money? If you win the lottery with a gifted ticket, are you obliged to share your winnings with the giver? Join us to find out the immoral answers to all of these questions. We’ve always known that Brad is a bad person, but, et tu, Lachlan?

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Ring of Gyges

The Box (2009)


Piracy is wrong, you guys. I learned all about it from this cool PSA.

Ted Danson’s “anonymous” donation.

Joey and Phoebe argue about altruism.


THE BOX, 2009

The Box (2009) is a film about a couple, played by James Marsden and Cameron Diaz, who are presented with a package and a strange offer: push the button on top of the box and you receive $1,000,000 but someone, somewhere, whom you don’t know will die. The premise comes from a short story titled Button, Button but the actual plot is very different to the original story. Despite this intriguing premise and excellent set-up during the first act, the movie does not live up to its potential. The problem with this film is that it is too ambitious and refuses to be boxed in to one narrative (pun intended). The story begins as the fall of man when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The story then moves in to a retelling of crime and punishment but misses the mark because the torture placed on the main characters comes from an outside force, not their own conscience and morality. Suddenly the story is about an other-worldly being testing the human race to see if we are moral enough to be allowed to continue existing. This cynical misanthropy may have been appropriate if the film were following the box-givers rather than one recipient of the box but don’t worry because that arc is quickly abandoned, too. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the box is its stubborn refusal to accept that it has become supernatural as each impossible occurrence is explained away by the characters quoting Clarke’s Law that ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. Apparently, one day technology will be so far advanced that the laws of physics will no longer apply.

For a movie about a couple given the opportunity to kill someone for money, you could be blamed for expecting a venture in to the realms of ethics, morality, guilt, and conscience. However, The Box decides that this premise is an appropriate set-up for a half-hearted exploration of Jean-Paul Sartre’s writings on free will. It’s the old bait and switch in the worst possible way.


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