Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

The Kovak Box


Starring: Timothy Hutton and David Kelly
DNC Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 28 July 2008

David Norton is a best selling fiction writer who attends a conference in the beautiful island of Majorca to discuss his work. What appears to be a normal business trip turns into something more sinister after he meets Frank Kovak. David’s girlfriend commits suicide by throwing herself out of their hotel window whilst across town Silvia Mendez attempts to kill herself in a similar manner, but an awning breaks her fall. Afraid for her life Silvia tries to flee the Island only to cross paths with David…

The Kovak Box (2006, 1 hr 44 min 12 sec) is a Spanish pseudo science fiction thriller, written and directed by Daniel Monzon, a local boy from Majorca. The film won the Audience Award for bets film at the Swedish Fantastic Film Festival (2006).

As a straight to DVD film you may feel that this indicates a certain lack of quality, this could not be further from the truth as Monzon delivers a tight thriller very much in the strain of Michael Crichton’s Coma (1978) or one of Hitchcock paranoia movies such as North by Northwest (1959), though I would hesitate to say it was in the same league as the master, you can see his influence throughout the film. The central premise that people can be programmed to kill themselves is not a new one, though the idea of using it purely for social control is a nice twist.

The script by Jorge Guerrichevarria and Daniel Monzon is a well crafted, bare bones affair which keeps the plot moving with few unnecessary distractions, but a lot of surprises. The cinematography, by Charles Gusi, shows the Island off at its gorgeous best and is perfectly complemented by Roque Banos’s score.

That said the film isn’t perfect. Timothy Hutton, who plays David, appears to have a very limited emotional range which alternates between his slightly upset look, when he girlfriend tops herself, to a slightly brooding but bemused look, which he uses for the majority of the film. Of course this may have been a directorial choice as I have seen his other work and he has a much wider range than this, but in Kovak it gives the impression of a wooden performance.

A better performance is put forward by Lucia Jimenez who plays Silvia, the poor girl that David bumps into at the airport whilst she is trying to flee the Island. Here is a more naturalistic performance, from her initial terror of throwing herself out of a window, when she knows she has no reason to die, to her anger at being controlled and finally finding the strength to fight back.

The villain is ably played by David Kelly with an ease of an actor who has successfully worked since the late fifties. With his understated menace and amorality he easily outshines Hutton in their shared scenes.

The DVD is let down by its lack of extras - only the theatrical trailer and a few other trailers (let's be honest here and call them adverts) for other releases. For an action thriller with a great score the film's audio track is a disappointing English stereo. That said, the widescreen picture is pretty good for a DVD, with no noticeable flaws.

So, ultimately, it is a good, if not great film, which harkens back to an earlier era when the story telling, rather than special effects, was king.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£9.98 (
£9.99 (
£9.99 (
£11.97 (
£10.79 (
£10.73 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.