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Out Of The Box

average rating is 2 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Feb 20, 2024

Film Reviews
Out Of The Box
Directed by:
Written by:
Sayan Ghosh, Arijeet Ganguly, Deepayan Roy, Asmita Bhaduri

Out Of The Box is a modern Indian crime thriller from director Priyam-Saptarshi. At only thirty-minutes long, this short film doesn’t have a lot of time to tell its story and get into the nitty-gritty of its characters and their machinations, but to be honest it doesn’t really try that hard to do that anyway. So, with about as much storytelling input and peripheral characterisation as an episode of The Bill, Out Of The Box sets about enveloping us in its spider-web of intrigue as we try to work out just what the heck is going on, not so much with the murder, kidnap and policework taking place, but more so just with the film itself.


We start at the home of Akash (Ghosh), a police detective in Kolkata, when he is rudely awakened by the loudest ringtone in the history of the world. On the other end is Monojit (Ganguly), Akash’s junior partner, who has some news for him about a young woman who’s gone missing the night before. The recent spate of killings in the city is a cause for concern and it seems like the serial killer has just claimed his latest victim, that is until Akash starts receiving anonymous voice messages and video of the kidnapped girl, along with a locked briefcase which has magically materialised outside of his front door. The disturbing voice seems to know Akash intimately and invites him to play a game with fatal consequences should he lose, and so Akash is on the case trying to figure out the clues, trying to get the briefcase open and trying to see if he can think who would want to play such a dirty, sadistic game with him.


Along the way we also get introduced to Akash’s wife, Meghna (Bhaduri), as well as getting to meet Monojit properly while he seemingly does all of the legwork necessary for the investigation. In fact, for a thirty-minute crime thriller, there seems to be an inordinate amount of time available to be wasted on lingering wide-shots and pointless incidentals while Akash basically does nothing at all. While Monojit is out running around rustling up leads and bringing in witnesses, Akash’s favoured method of police investigation appears to be standing around smoking cigarettes and closing his eyes to think on the whole affair – which, of course, somehow miraculously leads him to where he needs to go.


It should come as no surprise then to find that Out Of The Box just isn’t all that engaging. The plot itself is some half-baked pseudo-police drama that riffs understatedly off David Fincher’s Seven (1995), whilst the dialogue does its best to relate background and context to the viewer without giving the game away. The fact that Akash only has about two steps to take to uncover the truth of the situation obviously makes it more difficult to keep the audience guessing and also suggests why there seems to be so much standing around and smoking going on.


In terms of its technical aspects, Out Of The Box fares particularly well, with the direction from Saptarshi being pretty solid with good shot selection throughout, and the cinematography from Sushovan Chakraborty managing to capture the feel of the city as well as the isolation of the wide open spaces where Akash finds himself standing about. The score from Rajdeep Dasgupta is strong and forceful and manages to add a measure of tension to the scenario, which is especially necessary when faced with the seeming nonchalance of the main character. Sadly though, the skill of the crew can’t overcome the poor plotting and writing of Out Of The Box and as such it remains a decidedly less than average outline sketch of a crime thriller that doesn’t really go anywhere.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Short Film, Digital / DVD Release, World Cinema
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