If Clive Barker had written an episode of The Twilight Zone, it might have looked something like Cube. A handful of strangers wake up inside a bizarre maze, having been spirited there during the night. They quickly learn that they have to navigate their way through a series of chambers if they have any hope of escape, but the problem is that there are lethal traps awaiting if they choose their route unwisely. Having established some imaginative and grisly punishments in store for the hostages, cowriter and director Vincenzo Natali turns his attention to the characters, for whom being trapped amplifies their best and worst qualities. The film is, in fact, similar to a famous episode of Rod Serling's old television series, though Natali's explanation for why these poor people are being put through hell is a lot closer to the spirit of The X-Files. Cube has some solid moments of suspense and drama, and the sets are appropriately striking: one is tempted to believe at first the characters are lost inside a computer chip. --Tom Keogh
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The film's weakness, however, is the setup itself -- it's a great idea, but unlike the characters, it's never developed. (Skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to see potential spoilers.) Who "runs" the cube? Why were these people put in it? Where does escaping take them? These are all questions that the characters themselves ask, but they're never answered. We don't even know the time period (for that matter, we don't know if it's even Earth...). It makes it difficult to know how to feel when the closing credits roll.
It's not uncommon to leave questions unanswered to allow the audience to bring their own interpretation to a story, but it's a fine line between doing that and leaving questions unanswered because the filmmakers don't know the answers either (I get the impression that's the case here). Tough call on the rating...but I'm giving "Cube" 4 stars because by virtue of the characters and what we do know of the setting itself, there are a lot of genuinely suspenseful moments and unexpected twists, and I just plain enjoyed the movie. If you're willing to overlook the undeveloped setup, "Cube" is worth your time.
This premise would have been at home on the old 'Twilight Zone' series (or even on the original 'Star Trek', with the trapped parties being Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and 'Crewman Green'). And ya don't gotta be Kafka to smell the allegory; at any rate, if _your_ life has never felt like this, you probably won't like the movie.
The execution is very good too. Obviously a film like this requires a small ensemble cast and a script that manages to keep things interesting for an hour and a half even though all the 'action' takes place inside a series of practically identical cubical rooms. It has both. I won't spoil anything here, but there are some genuinely suspenseful moments and there's a lot of excruciating _psychological_ tension. (And not just from claustrophobia.)
I'm knocking off a star just because I just don't think the characters quite gel. They're interesting enough, but they're neither sufficiently complex to keep me fully engaged with them nor sufficiently 'archetypal' to support the allegory. In some respects their characterization occasionally seems inconsistent.
Very cool movie, though, and the slightly weak characterization isn't much of a drawback.Read more ›
Vincenzo Natali (also creator of "Cypher" and "Nothing") made his full-length directorial debut with this film -- a low-budet, innovative sci-thriller that feels like an episode of the "Twilight Zone," as written by Mark Danielewski and Franz Kafka. Yes, it's that surreal -- and that intelligent and well-written.
Seven people have been placed in a cubical room, which is connected to a bizarre maze of thousands more. Among are a cop, a disabled man, an architect, a student, a doctor and a criminal, and all of them have wildly disparate personalities. But they soon learn that behind the countless doors, there are deadly booby-traps.
So of course, their chances of survival don't seem so good. But they soon learn that their placement in the Cube is no accident -- each one has skills that the group needs. To escape, they will have to band together and use their brains. But why are they in the Cube in the first place -- and is the maze even the same as when they started?
Vincenzo Natali's "Cube" is a perfect example of what Hollywood can't seem to grasp -- it doesn't matter how much money is poured into a movie, because it's the concept, brains and skill that make it good or bad. Not the special effects or the big names.
And Natali did a magnificent job with his first full-length movie, infusing what seems to be a straightforward thriller with a taut, claustrophobic atmosphere, and some ominous hints about morality (or the lack of it) and sociology. It also has an unusually intelligent script, with prime numbers and their powers playing a big part, right next to the gruesome deaths. And of course, the solid dialogue. ("You've got a gift.Read more ›
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Can't remember when I first came across this, but was pleasantly surprised. I found the premise to be unique from anything else in the genre and the fact that it was Canadian was a... Read morePublished 18 months ago by James Lee
This is one of those movies that deals more on human psychology and interaction than action, personally i found it was really good, not the best but really fun to watch. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2013 by Bryan