BOXED: A cerebral assault you may or may not appreciate
Some films are an easy watch: you can just sit down, relax, and immerse yourself in the story being told. Others require a bit more concentration, playing on your mind why you try and figure out some plot line or character. Then there are films like boXed, a film that drags you in and holds your eyes open and forces you to watch the unsettling series of events which leaves you feeling either content with what happened or violated and confused. boXed is writer/director Daniel A. Finney’s first feature length film and he doesn’t let himself down by playing it safe, he sticks by a formula which he knows will only appeal to a small audience, but will play well with them.
The story revolves around Rachel (Jane Hamlet) and her search for her lost sister Hope, and the mental torment she endures while trying to keep her professional life together. That life is being the agent for artist Richard (Charles O’Neil), her ex-lover whose violent temper and rage towards the opening of his new exhibition and the return of his ex-collaborator Nicholas (Mark Cornwell) leaves Rachel paranoid and spiraling out of control. The film is shot completely in black and white but avoids the pretentious “art house” tag, because of how well it is filmed (which for a budget of £1000 and being filmed in only 6 days on a digital SLR camera is a remarkable achievement).
The story cuts back and forth between timelines, showing the same scenes from different perspectives or adding something extra to them, which can make it difficult to follow and adds to the overall feeling you get from Hamlet’s Rachel, who is superb in the role. There is an air of David Lynch throughout the film but I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. You can get easily lost in the film’s plot which for some may be a turn off, but if you sit through it most of your questions will be answered as the scenes reveal more and more of the story... which then raises more questions that will require a second watch.
While I enjoyed the film a friend of mine said it caused them to have a migraine due to the filming style and the soundtrack (big mention for Mark Cornwell who pulled double duty also composing the soundtrack) and I can easily see why it did. It isn’t an easy watch by any stretch of the imagination; it will bombard you with disturbing scenes and narratives which will let you know what the characters are going through, and that is the part of the film I think works the best. If you want an easy ride then boXed isn’t for you, but if you fancy 70 minutes of your eyes and feelings being beaten then you could do worse than this.