Modesto (Antonio Resines) is the manager of a small bank in southern
Spain, living a calm and reasonably pleasant life despite the shadow
of a family tragedy. But when his bank is robbed, Modesto stumbles
across some documents that lead him to think there was more to his
daughter's death than meets the eye. Meanwhile, another group of
criminals is looking for those papers in order to finish up a crooked
scheme of their own.
Box 507 (original title: La caja 507) tries to set
itself up as an intelligent film, one in which viewers have to pay
attention and put the pieces together by themselves. Unfortunately,
the film is more ambitious than it should be in that respect: there
are too many missing pieces, too many seemingly unconnected
characters, for the viewer to put things together. In fact, the
sketchy way the plot is laid out at the beginning makes me wonder
whether the story is poorly presented, or simply poorly thought out.
In any case, the ironic result is that the frustration of not having
enough information to work with made me just give up on the whole
thing, and pushed me to just watch passively as events rumbled on
toward their conclusion.
One element that contributes to the film not coming together is the
superabundance of characters. There are lots of them, and they're
introduced too quickly and in a slapdash manner, so it's difficult to
keep track of who's who... or even to know which characters are
important enough to pay attention to. It's clear that Box 507
is trying to develop a complex plot with schemes-within-schemes and
crooks double-crossing each other, but the way it's actually played
out in the film, it just doesn't work: if you don't know who the
characters are or what they want, it's difficult to be interested in
what they're doing.
Director Enrique Urbizu's cinematic style in Box 507 may
appeal to some, for the gritty, jumpy feel to it, while it may rub
others (like me) the wrong way. The camera work is jerky and abrupt,
with many rather disconcerting cuts; it probably does contribute to a
distinctive style for Box 507, but for me that wasn't a good
Box 507 was tolerable as I was watching it, but looking back
on it in the light of day, its flaws become much more visible. It's
the sort of film that I would have expected to have enjoyed, but the
way it's constructed leaves a lot to be desired.
Box 507 appears in a widescreen transfer (at the 1.85:1 aspect
ratio) which is disappointingly non-anamorphic. The image quality is
adequate, with colors and contrast looking normal, though the picture
isn't as crisp as it could be. Unfortunately, the second blow against
the image quality is the fact that the English subtitles are
burned-in, rather than optional. They are printed on the film image
rather than below it, so even if you zoom in to avoid the
windowboxing effect on a widescreen TV, the subtitles are still
The Spanish Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is adequate, providing reasonably
clear dialogue throughout the film. The English subtitles are not
We get some trailers for other TLA films, and that's it.
507 has the right ingredients for an interesting film, but
they're not assembled very well: the result is a passably watchable
but seriously flawed story. Especially considering the non-anamorphic
transfer with burned-in subtitles, this one merits a rental at best.