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 thing.
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 completely visible.
The Spanish Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is adequate, providing reasonably clear dialogue throughout the film. The English subtitles are not optional.
We get some trailers for other TLA films, and that's it.
Box 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.