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3.9 out of 5 stars
Cube (Widescreen) [Import]
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I was very impressed by this film in the same way that I was impressed by Lord of the Flies. I love movies that deal with human existance in a very metaphorical way. In many ways I found it more compelling and thought provoking than The Matrix, and I was particularly impressed with the stark set design. It even prompted me to attempt Kafka's The Trial. It also reminded me of movies like 12 Angry Men or Lifeboat with its claustrophobia and psychological archetypes.
I discussed this film many times with friends and I repeatedly made points about the machine being a symbol of our consumption driven post-industrial society. (I have also just finished reading "The Subliminal Man" by J.G. Ballard which deals with some of the same themes.)
I feel that it is important that one view the movie this way and based on the ending I feel like I "got" the message of the film.
...
The characters inside the cube have been called cliches, but that is because they represent types, not individuals. Cube is a study of how human types respond to their world, a world that is unfair, chaotic, dangerous, and ultimately without meaning.
This is definitely a thinking person's movie, it is more about ideas and metaphors. The production values are low and the acting is kind of stilted. Although it sort of reminds me of Survivor, the TV show. That being said, CUBE 2, Hypercube, was IMHO a much Inferior movie, even tho the special effects were much better. They lost the meaning and it proved to be a typical Twilight Zone-esque horror movie without much intellectual content.
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on January 9, 2004
This is an interesting movie in many ways. The basic theme is fantastic. A number of individuals are somehow abducted and placed in a giant Rubiks cube in essence. Supposedly there are thousands of rooms in the structure, each room with six exits and may containing lethal traps. The idea is to figure out which rooms have traps and which rooms lead to the exit. Another twist is that the rooms also move on a regular basis. I am not sure if the movie concept is original to this film or has been taken from somewhere else but it was enough to make me want to see it without any reviews from elsewhere. Where the movie fails terribly is in the story. Instead on being able to follow this group as they heroically try to escape this fiendish trap the film shows the characters fighting and killing each other. I understand that being trapped in this situation would be stressful for anybody but I think that most people would want to escape rather than assaulting and murdering their fellow prisoners. The movie focuses on this conflict rather than their environment or the attempt to escape. One of the character essentially goes "postal"; this almost makes the movie just another typical violent gorefest. The brilliant premise of the movie and the environment are not exploited to anywhere near their potential. I would much rather have had a plot line where there was of course stress amongst the characters but they were still able to work together. Thus I give the movie 3 stars for a novel and outstanding concept but zero for the actual film.
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What do a cynical nihilist, a pugilistic cop, a conspiracy theorist/free clinic physician, an escape artist, a number crunching adolescent, and a guy with Asperger's Syndrome (vs. autism) have in common-they're stuck in a huge Rubik's cube and they all had better fates than the poor schmuck who done got himself ...uh.. "gridded" in the opening scene-I counted 78 human parts, how 'bout you.
I was pleasantly surprised by this film, especially having previously seen "Cube II." The characters themselves are not unique and neither is the idea of bringing them all together in a stressful situation-happens everyday, it's called public transportation. However, throwing them into different cells of the biggest darn puzzle box from hell-now that's a spicy movie.
The Cube was suspenseful with pinches of humor and a side of mystery. There was just enough character development that the audience grew to like and dislike particular players...and as the situation became increasingly dire and the actors revealed more of themselves and underlying values/gifts/psychoses...the audience could then re-evaluate their hero (or lack thereof). At times, I did notice extreme over-acting particularly with the many hidden angry side-glances followed by mischievous grinning-an attempt to allow the viewer an inside glimpse of a character's personality. Uh, guys, the movie's about a giant death box...I think I can figure it out on my own...
As for the ending and the mystery of the cube...It makes for a great sequel...I saw Cube II...that 'aint it
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on November 19, 2003
Six strangers awake to find themselves in a seemingly endless maze of interlocking cubical chambers armed with lethal booby traps. With no food or water, they only have a few days to live. None of them have any idea why or how they became imprisoned, but soon discover that each of them possesses a skill that could contribute to their escape. However, tempers flare when their is a fight for leadership. But as they fight to free themselves, they come to realize that unless they can work together, none of them will get out alive.
"Cube" is one of those films that you assume will be horrible because of the unknown actors and the fact that it came straight to video. However, do not let that keep you from watching this film. It is by far one of the most suspenseful and scary films that I have ever seen before. You never get bored or frustrated, despite the fact that all of the characters are put in a frustrating situaion. I was on the edge of my seat! All of the actors are quite good considering that they are all unknown. The emotion that all of them portray is extremely realistic. Also, all of the characters each have different personalities as well that you will find entertaining. Watching them slowly lose their minds is great. Perhaps the best feature of the film, is the cube itself. It is one of the best set designs I have ever seen. Every booby trap is set off differently, and all are extremely lethal. Not only is each booby trap different, but the color, size, and shape of the rooms are as well.
"Cube" is one of the most suspenseful films you ever see. The acting, story, and cube itself are all done to perfection. The DVD extras are actually decent. You get deleted scenes, comparative and alternate storyboards, production design, schematic set design, special effects artwork, and production commentary. Plus the quality of the film is excellent. Definately a must own
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on November 5, 2003
Although the plot of this low-budget Canadian indie flick could be defined, at its rawest level, as a typical watch-your-back or who-can-you-trust paranoia story, CUBE actually rises above its cliché foundation to become a very clever and engaging sci-fi thriller. One of the reasons the film seems so fresh and original is the setting. CUBE takes place inside of a giant metal cubic structure, which is itself composed of thousands of smaller cube-like rooms. It is possible for occupants to navigate the structure by passing from one room into adjacent cubes through portals on each a cubic room's six sides, but such travel is not without its dangers. Some of the rooms are booby-trapped with deadly devices. And from time to time, the myriad of cubic rooms shift their positions within the larger structure.
The actual story centers on a group of seven people--each with a different lifestyle and background and each therefore a stranger to the others--who awaken to find themselves together in one of the many cubic rooms, but with no recollection of how they arrived there. They soon learn that they must reach the outside of the cube-shaped prison if they want to survive--most importantly, they have no access to food or water--and as their journey through the structure progresses, they realize that each of them has some unique talent that contributes to their ability to map a safe route through the overall structure. However, as one might expect, they do not trust each other, and the resulting paranoia eventually leads to....
Sci-Fi and STAR TREK fans will be interested in watching the excellent performance of the cute and sexy Nicole de Boer, who would later go on to recurring roles on TV's STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE and THE DEAD ZONE. Here she portrays a gifted mathematician whose talent is central to solving the riddle of escape from the cube. Genre fans, especially those who watch lots of TV, may also recognize Maurice Dean Wint, who plays the primary antagonist in CUBE. He has had guest roles in numerous Sci-Fi and Horror television series, including FOREVER KNIGHT, THE OUTER LIMITS, ROBOCOP, and FRIDAY THE 13th, just to name a few.
Few low-budget films are as literate or as engaging as CUBE. What's even more impressive is that the filmmakers have created such a high-quality and entertaining Sci-Fi flick without relying on the usual inordinate amount of special FX. A good story, an appropriate or interesting setting, and good actors--those are the basic ingredients for all successful films. Anything else is mere window dressing. And CUBE proves that you don't need too much window dressing to hold an intelligent audience.
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on July 5, 2003
On the surface, Cube is a most simple and elegant story. Six people trapped in a gigantic cube composed of rooms, some innocious, some others rigged with silent and deadly traps. Why have they been put here ? What is the Cube for ? What must they do to escape ? They don't know. But what they do believe is that by cooperating, armed with only their boots and their wits, they can get out. Little do they know...
I am a science-fiction fan, and this may cloud my judgment. Cube has been criticized for its average acting and a cliché script. I don't know : I don't ask too much from actors, and I didn't find the acting to be noticeably negative. I didn't dislike the script either, although there is one character that should have come out far more likeable than he/she does in the movie. Let's just say the death in the middle of the movie really cheered me up. Those who saw the movie will know what I mean. Also, warning for the faint-hearted, Cube is also somewhat of a horror movie. If seeing a head eaten thru by acid is likely to give you nightmares, steer clear of Cube. Although I hate gore, there was not enough of it here to put me off the movie.
Discussing the nature of Cube would give away too much spoilers, so I can't really get into the philosophical substance. Suffice it to say that it is brillant (it is a wonderful indictment of statism and bureaucracy in general), although it doesn't really relate to much else in the movie. But the rest of the movie is very interesting too.
It is interesting to note that, for such an intelligent movie, the director and actors are totally clueless chaps, especially if you watch the little interview in the DVD with Nicole DeBoer, who incidentally was Ezri Dax in Deep Space Nine (I also thought that the policeman sounded like Sisko, but it's probably just my imagination). Perhaps this is a case where luck contributed to art. The director does acknowledge that he likes Tarkovsky (and gives away the plot of Stalker during the commentary, the blithering idiot), and it will be interesting to watch out for the future works of this fellow - Vincenzo Natali.
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on June 3, 2003
Just to get it out of the way, I'd like to say I was expecting much from this movie but was worried it would end up falling short of its concept. I was not disappointed: it was executed incredibly well, and remained captivating and unpredictable throughout.

What I really want to get into here is an analysis of what the movie meant. Many have speculated, and I'd like to add my ideas. First, it is important to note that, aside from the guy that gets offed in the opening scene, there are six characters in this movie, just as there are six sides to a cube.

All of the characters are vastly different, and can be said to represent the human race. The cube is a microcosm that represents the world. Almost all of the characters have glaring fatal flaws: the cop that's concerned with self-preservation and dominion over others, the amoral engineer, the paranoid doctor, and of course, a criminal.

In addition, it helps to examine their names. Characters like "Leaven" and "Worth" ("Leavenworth") are suggestive of prisons, as is "Quentin." But there is also the doctor, "Holloway" (Hollow).

Interestingly, despite the cube's many dangers, most of the deaths that occur are murders: people killing people rather than the cube killing people. In other words, despite this world's many natural dangers, mankind is its own worst enemy. "We are the cube," indeed. The only character that is innocent and avoids all of the fighting done among the other characters is Kazan, who literally sees things differently from everyone else because of his autism. He is the only one that escapes the cube, just as the only hope we have of avoiding destruction is to adapt a new worldview.

A great film, entertaining, original, and thought-provoking, with a theme that is carried throughout without being weighed down by the narrative.
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on May 31, 2003
This movie has been described as a Twilight Zone episode written by Clive Barker, and that's as close a description as any. The whole set-up of the film is rather imaginative, and one of the joys of the film is watching the characters figure out how to navigate this shifting maze without getting killed in gruesome fashion. One of the other pleasures of the film is the visuals and special effects-- for a low-budget film, the sets look damn good (especially considering the difficulties they had making this-- the commentary on the making of it is almost as interesting as the film itself).
On the negative side, the script succumbs to the cliche of having the characters fight amonst themselves for no other reason than to generate conflict. Others have faulted the acting and dialogue, but I don't think those aspects were that detrimental. More importantly, however, the film lacks the existential weight that would have given a real Kafkaesque tone to the situation, so that the ending-- evocative though it is-- leaves one feeling slightly cheated. Still, this is a lot more intelligent than what passes for fantasy/SF/horror these days.
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on April 27, 2003
IMPORTANT NOTICE to those buying the Cube DVD: there are two editions out there, the first was Trimark's edition, and now there's Lion's Gate's "signature series" edition (Lion's Gate now owns Trimark). Apparently the orignal Trimark edition is being phased out.
This new LG edition is still excellent, but collectors will definitely want both editions as the commentary on Trimark's is much better since it includes cast member David Hewlett (they go more in-depth to some of the aspects of the film). Why LG decided to replace that commentary with a new one with only director Vincenzo Natali is a mystery. The only other difference is the new LG edition has a brief interview with Nicole deBoer, and a more interactive menu.
Now, on to the film itself: Cube is one of the most original sci-fi films of the last decade. If you were to think about what situation would terrify you the most, Cube would be the ultimate challenge. In a way, it is a predecessor to TV's "Survivor" in which the people each have a skill that can help them survive and possibly get them out...here, being that seven people wake up and find themselves in an endless maze of cubed rooms, some of which are booby trapped.
It all comes down to human emotions and confrontations that get in the way of the characters' progress and survival. It's a talky film, but that's the point -- figuring situations and dealing with different personalities is inevitable to any group. The solving of problems becomes very complex, but the viewer doesn't have to worry...let the characters figure it out as we go along for the ride!
While so many sci-fi films want to wow you with effects, Cube does something more daring -- it makes you think! With its limited budget working FOR its advantage and some digital effects that preceded even the film Titanic, Cube still proves itself as one of the most original and intelligent thrillers of the last decade. It is truly a nail-biter.
Those who need more visual thrills and less "thinking" should just then stick with Cube 2: Hypercube. However, this first and superior Cube is a masterpiece! Gumdrops, anyone?
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on April 6, 2003
you understand it for what it is supposed to be. I have exposed several people to this movie who got to the end, and said, "So?" Well, they didn't get it. The thing that separates this from your average Hollywood release is that this is an intense character sketch with a lot of information that needs to be carefully considered. In addition, the themes of the movie need to be examined. There is a lot of subtextual (as it were) information in this movie that you need to understand and consider before you can properly decide if you like this movie or not.
I think that one of my favorite parts of this movie though is the ending. It jibes extremely well with my own particular worldview, and I think that the ending reinforces what Worth was saying throughout the movie. The movie is very suspenseful, well made, and the ending rocks.
I highly recommend this movie with other luminaries, like Fight Club, Chasing Amy, The Crow, and Donnie Darko. Check them all out, think, and you will realize that the world isn't as Damned as we may like to believe.
Harkius
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