TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘The Box (La Caja)’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2021 by - September 09, 2021
TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘The Box (La Caja)’

While Lorenzo Vigas was introducing his film The Box, the director promised that he was showing a new Mexico, one that films haven’t shown before. Which, sure. The title refers to the object containing the supposed remains of the father of a Mestizo boy Hatzín (Hatzín Navarrete). He is almost out of the small town where he gets the remains until he spots a man who resembles his late father.

The alleged father, Mario (Hernán Mendoza), doesn’t do the conventional thing to do in order to getting rid of Hatzin, who might be dealing with his father’s death in strange ways. Mario lets the stubborn boy stay around. He also notes that Hatzin isn’t necessarily useless in his work. See, he headhunts for factories, and crosses ethical lines in his work.

Navarette is a good actor and the cinematography here is good, but it’s as if Vigas doesn’t know how to write consistent characters. That’s specifically true in writing Hatzin, a supposed whiz kid who takes too long to put two and two together after a cute but mouthy factory worker goes missing. His actions feel erratic even for someone experiencing trauma.

It’s also as if Vigas didn’t know how to end The Box. In fairness, there are some possibilities here. He could have gone full on and stayed with the film’s nihilism in depicting Hatzin and Mario’s relationship. But he also decided to take the path that Hatzin should have taken to make this film much shorter.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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