Wednesday, October 1, 2008

#77: Cube


Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Written by André Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali and Graeme Manson
Released September 9, 1997

A room full of strangers who have no idea how or why they got to the place they find themselves imprisoned. A series of deadly booby traps set by an unknown person, forcing these strangers to make life and death decisions based on a series of clues, all while trying not to kill each other in the process.

If anyone out there is thinking, "Hey, this sounds a lot like Saw," you'd be right... if Cube hadn't come out about 7 years prior. Cube, and the viewing audience, also benefits from not relying on the disgusting, sadistic impulses of torture porn. Instead, it is a sort of Science Fiction puzzle game.

Going into too much detail about anything (Who put these people here? Why?) will ruin the way the story moves along. All you really need to know is that this group of people -- which includes among them a doctor, a mathematician, a cop and an engineer -- is trapped in a collection of rooms, all the same size but with different color schemes, which may or may not kill them when they enter.

The entire movie is essentially a gimmick, albeit an interesting and engrossing one. The fact that the entire movie takes place in tiny rooms (there was actually only one cube room made, with different color panels) and never gets tedious is a credit to the filmmakers, and to the concept.

The acting, at times, is the real mystery here. While the cast is full of unknowns, you may recognize Nicole de Boer from a few Kids in the Hall skits, and from their movie Brain Candy. She gives one of the better performances, but her serviceable acting is seemingly amplified by the overbaked acting of Nicky Guadagni as the doctor and especially Maurice Dean Wint as the cop. The script gets a little silly at points as well, but the strong concept behind the movie still holds things together.

For a movie with a rumored budget of only $300,000, director Vinceno Natali squeezes all he can out of the resources he has (that opening scene had to have cost a third of his budget). Cube was followed by a sequel and a prequel, but I'm not sure if I'm interested in knowing more about the story; it's the vagueness and the questions that go unanswered that keep it interesting in the first place.

For more on Cube:
- Movie information at IMDB and Wikipedia.
- Buy the DVD.

The Cube trailer:

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