on June 1, 2005
Much like Vicenzo Natali's later film, "Nothing," "Cube" uses a highly unusual setup and setting to explore the characters who inhabit it. Seven strangers wake up in the titular cube with no knowledge of how they got there and no indication of what, if anything, they're expected to do. As they attempt to solve the apparent puzzle and escape, we learn what drives them and gradually see how the stress of the situation causes their true characters to emerge. In that respect, as a character study, I found "Cube" immensely interesting and even surprising. The character arcs are believable and well thought-out, and the dialogue supports them. I thought the casting was excellent as well -- clearly, that's a "love it or hate it" aspect of this movie, as the other reviews indicate.
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.
on May 28, 2004
What a great concept. A handful of people awaken to find themselves trapped inside a bunch of cubical rooms, connected by doors in each of the six faces. They have no idea where they are or how to get out, but since they have no food or water, they need to find out fairly quickly. But some of the rooms contain deadly booby-traps, and nobody knows how to tell which ones they are. Turns out all the rooms form one giant cube; nobody knows exactly why anyone wanted to construct such a complicated, useless, and potentially deadly piece of machinery -- let alone why anybody would deliberately put _people_ in it . . .
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. It's not at all a 'hopeful' film and the ending won't make you gasp with moral relief; nor will all that many of your questions get answered. But if (like me) you enjoy that sort of movie, you'll especially enjoy this one.
"Cube" is a cult hit. That basically means that it's good or innovative, but not many people know about it.
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." "It's not a gift. It's just a brain.")
At the heart of the creepiness: Natali only reveals the secrets of the Cube as they are revealed to the characters, which adds to the suspense. What is this thing? Why are they in it? We know as much as they do. And we're only going to find out more about it when they do.
It's also a movie that bothers to have real characters. No screaming teens here -- the movie's plot depends on them being very different. Natali and André Bijelic reveal the characters through their action and dialogue -- some are whiny, some are cruel, and some are just annoying. Some of the acting is rather flat, and a few of the arguments ring hollow, but overall it's very like watching real people.
Vincenzo Natali's "Cube" gives a good name to shoestring budgets and eerie plots. Definitely deserving of its cult status -- bizarre, twisted and creepy.
on October 1, 2012
This is a awesome movie. It's worth the Blu-ray upgrade! The picture is perfect. Order this Blu-ray asap you will be happy you did. They don't sell this blu-ray in the usa so i ordered from Amazon Canada!
The Cube(released Sept/97)is a wonderful Canadian production,starring Nicole De Boer(Dax in DS9),Maurice Dean Wint as Quentin,Nicky Guadagni as Dr. Helen Holloway,David Hewlett as David Worth,Andrew Miller as Kazan,Wayne Robson as Rennes(One Magic Christmas,as the guy who hijacks the children),and Julian Richings as Alderson.It is a grand study in paranoia,fear of the unknown and human beings reduced to the simplest of equations in so far as their emotional stability goes.It is instinctual and at times raw and unnerving to watch as the group`s numbers dwindle and they spiral ever downwards within themselves.
The film begins as an unknown man is lying on a floor in a square/cubed room.He gets up,takes a few steps then is sliced and diced by a swift moving steel metal sieve.He literally falls to pieces before our eyes.It is certainly a disturbing harbinger of what is to come.The film progresses to introducing us to a group of individuals who eventually all come together,and work on a way of trying to get out of their strange dilemma.They put forth their own personal theories as to the whys of their predicament,ranging from an alien kidnapping to a government run conspiracy.Among the group there is a doctor,an ex con,a cop,a student,an autistic savant and one of the actual creators of part of the structure they now stand in.He apparently worked on the outer shell,and was in communication with others working on the project,but none knew what the ultimate design was nor the others names.
The student utilizes her math skills to get the group going from one safe room to another,as each are numbered and some rooms are booby trapped.Time passes on and the group starts to dwindle and tempers flare and extreme paranoia and fear touches each one in different ways.They eventually learn they are all in a giant cube,with a myriad of other cubes that constantly move.They also figure out that the original cube they started from was the one they should have stayed in in the first place.They get back to that location,and in time the room comes to a halt at a portal that they may escape from,which exudes white light.As the film ends only one person escapes into the light and....freedom?
The films opening is disturbing but it quickly backs away and starts out slowly introducing each character and their idioms.However the claustrophobic fog permeates the entire film and it never dissipates at all,thus pulling you into their world with ease.It is a simple concept yet complicated at the same time,focusing hard on the complex beings that are humans.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 1:85:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include some deleted scenes,commentary and a short interview with Nicole De Boer.
All in all a wonderful film study of humans in a guinea pig environment,with no where to go and only their wits and each other to rely on to escape....but do they?The ending has a neat and bittersweet twist.Highly recommended.4 1/2 stars.
on August 1, 2002
Imagine you're in a cube shaped room (14x14x14 ft.). There's a door on each side of the room that leads to another, nearly identical to the one you're in now. The only distinguishing features are the colour of the room and seemingly random numbers printed on the doorways..........oh..........and the booby traps. The traps will dice you, incinerate you, hollow out your skull with hydrochloric acid, and lots of other neat stuff (or there may not be a trap at all).
Now imagine you wake up in one of these rooms, with no recollection of how you got there and no idea of why you're there or how to get out.
This is a great low budget ($300,000 Canadian) sci-fi flick. I'm not suprised at all that it did very well internationally (and quite surprised that the Americans didn't seem to take to it).
on March 23, 2004
Cube, a low budget Canadian flim, is a masterwork that shows it isn't necessary for a production to have millions of CGI effects to produce an atmospheric and effective movie. The movie focuses on the interactions of six strangers who find themselves trapped in a series of cubes as they attempt to find a way out. Along the way they dodge a number of life threatening traps. All the while the characters interactions grow more paranoid and distrusting of each other until they conflict breaks out. The dialogue ranges from the outlandish to the sublimely bitting, in particular Worth's commentary on the possible reason for Cube. The ending is a downbeat but suits the tone of the movie. The acting is good and whilst the characters are to some extent ciphers the situation that they find themselves in doesn't really need more then the archetypical characters that we get. Of the cast Nicole De Boer and David Hawlett are the standouts and get the best lines and growth. What does it all mean? Part of the appeal of the movie is that it doesn't give you any easy answers; instead it functions as sociological Rorschach test, is it a critique of the mechanistic nature of society today? An allegorical, cautionary tale on the need for humanity to come together to progress? A tale of moving from purgatory to heaven? In the end the movie allows all these interpretations and more. Ultimately this is a not a movie that is easy to watch or like but if you do stick with it then it can reward you with a film that is a brutal commentary on society.
on February 6, 2004
'Cube' is an interesting, low budget fantasy that obviously evokes strong emotions in many people. Reviews here both celebrate and attack virtually every aspect of the film, from its premise, to its acting, to its meaning.
I found the film to be gripping. disturbing and somewhat unsatisfying.
But the most unusual, and shocking, aspect of the movie isn't mentioned in any of the reviews I've seen.
'Cube' can best be viewed as an allegorical thriller, with the nature of the huge cube in which the protagonists are trapped left open to interpretation.
But if the character's final idea of what the cube is and why they are inside it is to be taken seriously, then 'Cube' is one of the most nihilistic movies ever made for a popular audience. Whether you want to look at the story as symbolic of the individual's struggle in society, or if you just want to accept it at face value as an gory horror yarn, 'Cube's view of the human condition is so bleak as to be positively subversive. I don't believe this is a great movie, but any film with a vision as unique and dark as this should not be dismissed.
on February 6, 2004
Based on all the other reviews here, I had high hopes for this title. I'm a big fan of Twilight Zone style science fiction, and the idea of this movie sounded as creative as they come. After watching the movie in it's entirety though, I must say I'm feeling a little empty on the inside.
The setting of movie is suppose to take place within an enormous 26 by 26 room cube. The directors do a good job of conveying this idea the best they can shooting on only a single set. The result left me the viewer with a very claustrophobic and uncomfortable feeling throughout the majority of the film. I would of have loved this had the movie given a great sense of closure at the end. I for one didn't like the ending unfortunately. Again, I didn't feel any sense of closure. Instead of escaping to the outside world, the survivor(s) escape towards a "white light". Made the movie feel very tacky and low budget.
As for the cast themselves, I found the actors portrayals of their characters to be very believable and realistic. Nicole de Boer is a wonderful and beautiful actress. I enjoyed watching her very much.
Watch this movie, but be warned it not for everybody. I say it's a rental at best (especially with the lack of any really special DVD features as well). The producers did as good a job as they could have on a low budget.
on January 26, 2004
Ah, but the above question has no correct answer as most good questions in this life don't. The Cube offers the situation with all its detail and intrigue, it offers the questions, the dillemas, the pondering and the eerie suspicions.
But its real thrill is that it offers no answers. The answers are all up to you to come with (if you wish), but even if you do you'll never be confirmed plus you'll find that mostly everyone else might disagree with you.
The five humans that (basically) wake up to find out they've been transported unknowingly to a strange and evil-feeling mechanic environment (the "cube") do what anyone would try to do:
they try to come out. To escape.
But as they realise that the cube is not only a massively compartmentalised prison but also one laced with lethal traps mostly everywhere they decide to put their brains a little bit more to use. But this doesnt seem to help much either. Because figuring out how to come out of the cube while simoultaneously not dying in the process is difficult and offsetting enough.
But the real torturing part for the protagonists is not all that. It's the questions themselves. If you know why you're in a prison, what the purpose of that prison is, who's set it up and what the overall scheme is, you might go about your efforts with a more collected mind.
Yes, but you see, the prisoners of the cube know nothing.Not only the know zilch about the cube but also nothing about each other, and, as they eventually are forced to admit, not much about themselves either.
The Cube is undoubtedly one of the best sci-fi films of all time. Some have criticized the acting level in it but in my opinion it is the acting that actually makes it all the more convincing. The fact that none of these actors is a "name" is an added plus. It emphasizes that this could be you, or, that indeed this might you at this very moment. The fact that you feel sure you "know" where you are and what you're doing there is the same thing these people thought too. Usually all it takes is a more careful look and the Cube starts appearing in all types of shapes and forms all around you. Spooky? Nah, reality isnt spooky, it's what's beyond it that is.
Filmed on a somewhat low budget but with brilliantly fitting and believable settings as well as pretty good effects for the money available this movie has "classic" written all over it.
Besides, even if the technical part wasn't (or isn't) totally up to par this would hardly take anything away from this masterpiece. It's not about how flashy the cube is or how "cool" the victims inside it are, is it? Nobody with enough suspicion in him cares about that. It's, as i said, the questions that matter.
Go on and discover those questions too if you've somehow managed not to ask yourself about them till now. And good luck coming up with anything close to an answer...