The next scene sees Abe on the roof of a building, he's looking out over the park bench where Aaron is sitting. He's in the power position denoted by him looking down over the world. He knows how this day will pan out. This is the first time Abe has returned from the future. Let's call him Abe_1. As we'll see in a few seconds, there are now 2 Abes in this timeline.
The other thing to notice here is the sound of the ocean and waves as
Abe enters the roof. This is an audio cue signifying time travel. We'll
learn this later when Aaron and Abe discuss the dream they each
experience whilst in The Box.
Abe_1 approaches Aaron who's sitting on the bench with a radio
earpiece in his ear. He's listening to NCAA basketball. In the next few
scenes Aaron continues to wear this earpiece.
I took note of the neckties they're wearing to ensure they stayed
consistent and we didn't switch from Abe_1 back to Abe at any point.
Abe wants Aaron to ditch work and go visit Bradshaw, an engineer. On
the way out of the office, they split up and Aaron goes to inform Will
that a meeting has been cancelled. We learn later that Will is Rachel's
In the next few scenes, Aaron learns that a protein has grown on
their weeble. Normally this protein takes a long time to grow, theirs
has grown in a short time.
The entire time, Aaron is wearing his radio earpiece in his left ear, the same ear which will later begin bleeding.
It's 2:05pm when Abe_1 describes to Aaron what's happening to their Weeble in the small box.
it's experiencing the same second, over and over again.
We also learn that the original purpose of The Box was to "degrade
gravity". This is not important except that when this audio of Abe
talking is played, it sounds distant like it might be on Aaron's
earpiece. This hints, as we'll learn later, that this might not be Aaron
but it might be an Aaron from the future!!! I don't buy this though as
Aaron's writing (on the pad) is normal. He's not writing like a baby (we
learn later that time travel degrades your handwriting).
Time between the A and B ends of The Box represents 1 minute. If the
Weeble enters at the A end spends 1 minute realtime in The Box and
leaves at the A end, it'll experience an even number of minutes, i.e.
1334 minutes in the movie. If it enters at the A end, spends 1 minute in
The Box and leaves at the B end it'll experience an odd number of
minutes in The Box. i.e. 1347 minutes in the movie.
They've accidentally discovered time travel here and the description
is somewhat reminiscent of some of the Quantum mechanics books I've come
So in the next few scenes, they decide to build a bigger Box so that
they can go in and control which end they get out of The Box. Abe_1
plants this idea in Aaron's mind, a classic "time-travel movie paradox".
So far this is typical Marty-McFly time travel stuff. The basketball
scene in the yard ends with Aaron saying "we're going to have to move
it", Abe_1 responds "We will".
Next up they're sitting on the truck bed beside the storage facility.
Abe_1 continues to plant the idea of how the machine will be built into
When Aaron says "You know what we could use", Abe_1 switches from
pretending like he's Abe into the mode of being Abe_1. He knows Aaron is
about to see regular Abe enter the facility and
he must brace Aaron for what he's about to see.
Aaron is NOT wearing an earpiece at this point. Again, this indicates he's regular Aaron, and not an Aaron from the future.
Aaron sees Abe enter the facility. The camera switches to a view of
Abe_1 and Aaron watching the facility. This shot hints that they might
be being watched by another version of themselves but I think this is
Abe_1 and Aaron enter the facility and wait until Abe has entered The Box. They sit beside The Box in a very poignant moment.
Aaron says "What did you do all day, the first time through",
indicating that this is not Abe_1's first time coming back and hence
he's technically not Abe_1, he might be really Abe_n. We can't know what
revision he is though and it's not important.
Aaron wonders what he did that day and it's interesting that Abe_1
doesn't know either although after thinking about this, I don't think
During this conversation, the phone rings and Abe_1 answers. It's
Rachel. The fact that the phone rings and he answers is OK as since Abe has entered The Box, then there's no loop.
Also, at this point, there's only 1 box in the storage room. I assume
though that since this is not Abe_1's first time through, that he must
have built the failsafe device and it must already be running in it's
own storage room.
FAILSAFE SAVE POINT!!!
In the next few days they build a second box (Aaron still doesn't
know about the failsafe) and then prepare for them both to make a trip.
So The Boxes work like this. The second you start The Box (8:45am in
this scene) is the time you'll exit, regardless of when you enter. You
must shut The Box off before entering and you must enter before The Box
fully winds down. You must also exit The Box right when it's started,
hence the stopwatches and alarms. If you exit too soon, you might go
into a coma (I assume). To avoid being at The Box when your double
exits, they use timers to give themselves time to leave. The time is set
for 15mins and started at 8:30am. When 15mins is up, The Box starts up.
Abe_1 says "There are always leaks". Not sure what this means but it
might be a hint of things to come. Fractures in their relationship and
They drive to Russelfield to check into a hotel. This is to avoid
affecting the world whilst they're traveling back in time. In the hotel
they play Scrabble and Aaron tries to use all his letters and place a
word that does not exist "Evacipate".
On the way back to the storage facility, for their first trip, Abe_1
checks the lock on a storage locker. Then moves to the real storage
locker. Is this the locker holding the failsafe device? We learn later
that the failsafe is in a locker upstairs from this one. Another
diversion from Shane.
Right before Aaron enters The Box for the first time, he reads a piece of paper. It roughly reads:
"Rules to Follow to Evade Causality Paradoxes or Generally Screwing Your Life Up"
1. Do not disturb The Box after you exit as you or your double is in it.
2. When re-experiencing time, stay away from your double until he/she has started his/her journey backwards.
3. Worry about yourself first. Now is the only moment that has to make sense.
They enter The Box and we hear faint hint of waves in the distance along with the hum of The Boxes.
They get out just as the machines are starting up, at 8:50am. Abe
says he left the machine on since he or his double or "someone" was on
the way back. Who's "someone"?, why would he say that? Did he tell
Granger about The Boxes in order to get funding and did he have Mr
Granger try one out?
They decide to trade some stock and make some money using mid-cap
funds to avoid getting caught. Later that day they drive back to the
facility, park and watch their double's going into the facility, just
In the next scene, Aaron's wife Kara complains about rats in their
attic. Aaron claims they are birds and to leave them alone. He must know
at this point that the noise in the attic is actually his drugged
double. If he hadn't been up in the attic he'd be supportive of getting
the exterminator. I mean, who wants rats? This means Aaron at this point
MUST be an Aaron from the future.
Aaron also suggests using the time machine to punch out Platt.
Another Paradox! He wants to go to see Platt, punch him and then enter
The Box, go back in time, go visit his double before punching him and
then convince him not to do it. The problem with this is even if he
manages to convince himself not to punch Platt, he must also convince
his double to go enter The Box. It's basically an experiment to see what
would happen. He'd have punched out Platt and yet not punched him out.
There's no point other than curiosity and the idea has been planted by
an Aaron from the future.
The gas-pump scene is when Aaron breaks down a little to Abe, he's
talking about life, the way things have worked out, what if this is your
first or second time through etc. One of the great lines in the movie:
"What's worse? Thinking you're paranoid or knowing you should be?". I
presume he's talking like this as he's secretly from the future.
Abe is beginning to suspect Aaron.
In the next scene, they've been back through obviously, they're
trading stocks again and discussing telling Aaron's wife. They decide to
not tell Roger and Phillip.
After a few more trips through together and a discussion about
Aaron's dream, Aaron begins bleeding, presumably from excessive time
travel or being awake for so long. He's been traveling through with Abe
and also on his own.
In the next scene, Abe is in the garage when Roger and Philip come
in. Roger thanks Abe for the present. We learn later on that Abe bought
Roger a vinyl record of the "Best of Bread". Roger states "you guys make
fun, but there's a difference", implying the superior quality of
records over CDs. Roger refers to Aaron as "Hero". Abe doesn't notice at
first but then realizes. What follows is an explanation of the events
of Roger's birthday party when Aaron rushed Rachel's ex-boyfriend.
NOTE: Abe wasn't at the party in this timeline, so he needs Roger to explain the "hero" incident.
Abe didn't know about the party as Aaron didn't tell him. The
birthday party was on the night when Abe_1 first explained everything to
Aaron. Abe_1 and Aaron did NOT go to the party originally. This
re-inforces the idea above that Aaron is an Aaron from the future. I'm
going to refer to him now as Aaron_x as I'm not sure which revision he
is. We learn later that it took more than 1 try to get the Birthday
party incident correct. We also learn that even when Aaron_x wasn't
there noone was hurt. Aaron still desires praise so he figures he'll
reverse engineer it by changing how the party plays out.
In the waterfall/garden scene, Aaron_x says "things are different
right now". He's referring to the power to revise that they now have.
Aaron_x and Abe are in the hotel room when Aaron_x's cell goes off. He answers the phone and it's Kara.
They go back. There's a great line in next scene. They're sitting in a
room, Abe is meticulously slicing a cupcake and Aaron_x says "Are you
hungry? I haven't eaten since later on today". It's also interesting
that although Abe and Aaron_x are watching a sports game, they both know
the outcome. They're clearly not following the original rules of
switching everything off and unplugging stuff.
They go for food and are walking down the street at the same time
when the original phone call was placed by Kara. Aaron_x took the phone
with him (by mistake) and it goes off again. Thus, the question, did it
really go off in the hotel room? And did he answer it? Another paradox.
Next things get sketchy. Abe is woken by a car alarm. He decides to
do an experiment, to go back in time with Aaron_x and prevent himself
being woken by preventing the alarm going off. Thus creating another
He tries to tempt Aaron_x into going along with this by offering him
the Platt face-punch. Abe also reveals he's been turning The Boxes on at
5pm. This is bad as he's didn't tell Aaron_x and he's potentially using
the boxes without Aaron_x's knowledge.
They leave and notice Granger is following them. They call Granger's
house, he's there! This means that Granger has gone back in time and the
future Granger (Granger_1) is in the car. They give chase and Granger_1
falls in to a coma when Abe gets near him.
Something has happened between Abe and Granger. They're asking "what
did he change?" They might be referring to Granger here or the might
even be referring to a revision of Abe!. Abe decides he must use the
failsafe machine. The failsafe's been running for 3 days 22hours when
Abe uses it.
Let's now call Abe from the future Abe_2. The next few scenes are pivotal.
Abe_2 goes back and gases Abe_1 whilst Abe_1 is asleep!!! Abe_2 then
attempts to meet Aaron on the parkbench as Abe_1 originally did. He
passes out as he's just spent 4 days in The Box.
Aaron is no a revision from the future. We know
this as Aaron is listening to a tape and responding according to the
"At this point there would have been some...discussion".
Abe want to know "how". The how here is how everything has happened, here's my take:
After originally meeting Abe_1 on the parkbench, Aaron saw the
manifest and found out about Abe's failsafe. Aaron decided to take a box
with him through the other box thus creating 4 boxes and his own
failsafe. In order to get back to a point before the parkbench, he must
have used the failsafe, hence breaking the original assumption that they
are single use only.
At this point he had lost trust in Abe and was operating alone.
Aaron then went into a loop of trying to be a hero at the birthday
party. He recorded the days events just in case his first attempt at the
party failed, attended the party by himself (without Abe), tried to
rush the ex-boyfriend but things went wrong. So he had to try again.
In order to try again, it meant going back to that morning, then
playing things out just perfect so that the party would still have a
scuffle. He'd use the audio tape for this.
The problem was that the party was on the same day that Aaron
originally met Abe at the bench. It wasn't a day when Aaron had been
stuck in a hotel as with the other days. So Aaron had to somehow take
his own place that day.
The second time through, he meets the "Hooded Aaron" who is the one
who has used the failsafe. This failsafe was setup when Aaron took a box
back through the other box (after finding Abe's failsafe).
The hooded Aaron has already drugged his double and put him in the
attic. We know he came through one of the failsafes as his beard has a
few days growth on it. Hooded Aaron leaves as his whole intent was to
record the days events and become the hero at the party.
So things play out from here. Abe is now Abe_2 from a few days in the
future and Abe_1 has been gassed and is stuffed in a room adjoining a
bathroom. Abe_2 doesn't know that Aaron0 is in the attic!
Original Aaron0 is up in the attic.
Aaron in the white-shirt has been looping through this day for a
while, trying to get the hero thing to work. He knows Aaron is in the
attic and hence tells Kara that the rats in the attic are really birds.
There's also hooded shirt revision of Aaron who has just left! I guess he's gone off somewhere.
They both continue repeating this day until it comes off just fine.
We even see Abe with his own recording at the party. The best part is
that nothing happened originally when they weren't there, or maybe it
did, we don't know.
In the end, we see a version of Aaron talking to Abe_2 at the
airport. Abe2 has found out about Aaron in the attic. He's pissed. He
decides to send Aaron on his way and stay and watch over Aaron and
Abe to ensure they never build these boxes.
We later see either Aaron or hooded Aaron in France building a room-sized box.
I'm not sure this explanation works, but it seems the movie is left
open to interpretation. It's a puzzle.