Saturday, November 10, 2007

Box of Moonlight

Box of Moonlight; Drama, USA, 1996; D: Tom DiCillo, S: John Turturro, Sam Rockwell, Catherine Keener, Lisa Blount, Annie Corley, Dermot Mulroney, Rica Martens

Electrical engineer Al Fountain is a cold and disciplined person. His new job places him far away from home, so he constantly calls his wife to see how things are doing. When his job gets cancelled, Al, unlike his colleagues, decides to drive by a nearby lake he hasn't visited since his childhood. He starts seeing some things revolving backwards. When he almost hits a car of the young rebel Kid, he decides to bring his vehicle to his house that lies somewhere in the nature. Al gains sympathies towards Kid, but they are quite different and learn from each other: Al how to have fun, Kid how to have discipline. When Al looses his car key, he decides to stay with Kid a little longer, and they meet two girls. When Al finds his spare key and leaves, he becomes a box of moonlight from him. He opens it and finds his key in it.

Independent little drama "Box of Moonlight" is a minimalistic and sparse intimate buddy film turned towards the optimistic note, but it's for a nuance weaker than Tom DiCillo's earlier flick "Living in Oblivion". Two scenes will probably remain in viewers' memories: one when the time goes backwards and the water from the cup "returns" back to the bowl and the other one when the hero Al (solid John Turturro) drives by a traffic sign showing a deer that's ironically full of shot gun holes. But the rest is rather thin and even occasionally boring, not offering any reason to be regarded as something special, which is precisely one of the reason why it's a rather rightfully forgotten film today. The story about the hero in search for himself isn't that spiritual as it pretends to be, it's very liberal and relaxed (a skinny dipping sequence) and tends to leave a melancholic mood and a good tone. Still, despite some gay subtext between Al and Kid and the message that small things are sometimes more important than big ones, DiCillo didn't impress on a big scale and obviously prefers an overstretched tone, thus the viewers will have to accept the fact that they wont experience any bigger ambitions or scope.


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