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FAQ for
Cube (1997) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Cube can be found here.

Like a Rubik's cube, the Cube is a three-dimensional puzzle made up of 14-foot-wide cube-shaped rooms, all enclosed within an outer shell which is also a cube with the total width of 434 feet (meaning there are potentially just over 30 rooms along any given axis, a body total of over 27,000 rooms). Each individual room is outfitted with six doors—one on each wall, one on the ceiling, and one on the floor—that open into neighboring rooms, which are identical except for color. Also like the Rubik's cube, the various rooms can be rotated and are in constant flux. Unlike the Rubik's cube, the inner rooms can move around, and some of the rooms are outfitted with deadly traps that may be activated by motion, sound, weight, or chemical detection.

Cube is based on a script co-written by screenwriters Andr Bijelic, Graeme Manson, and Vincenzo Natali (who also directed the movie). Cube was followed by a sequel, Cube 2: Hypercube (2002) and a prequel, Cube Zero (2004).

It's not impossible to erect a building that measures 434 feet (≈145 yards) in all three dimensions. Consider that a football field is about 120 yards long and 53 yards wide. The Cube would be only slightly larger than two football fields placed side by side, not much bigger than a large medical complex, shopping center, or airport terminal. The entire Cube could fit comfortably inside NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building, a structure built in the 1960s. It's also small enough to be built without detection, depending upon where it is built or where the already-built individual rooms are joined together. For all we know, it could have been completed inside of some kind of very large hangar.

Seven altogether are shown. They consist of (1) Alderson (Julian Richings), who is killed in the opening scenes of the movie, plus (2) veteran police officer Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint), (3) Dr Helen Holloway (Nicky Guadagni), (4) math student Joan Leaven (Nicole de Boer), (5) escape artist Rennes (Wayne Robson), (6) David Worth (David Hewlett), designer of the outer shell, and (7) the idiot savant Kazan (Andrew Miller).

The creators of the Cube are not revealed in this movie. Some suggestions provided by the characters include (1) aliens, (2) a government conspiracy, and (3) some rich guy's entertainment, like Scaramanga in the 1974 James Bond flick, The Man with the Golden Gun. It is unlikely that the Cube was built by aliens, since Worth is revealed as the designer of the outer shell. That leaves the government or a private builder.

Leaven figures that, with an outer shell measuring 434 feet square and the inner rooms measuring 14 feet square, the biggest that the cube can be is 26 rooms along by 26 rooms across by 26 rooms deep, so 26 × 26 × 26 for 17,576 rooms. Worth also mentions that there is the space of one cube between the outer shell and the rest of the rooms, and this is proven true near the end when we see an external shot of "the bridge" moving. However, for this math to work out, the outer width of the rooms (including room for lubricant and mechanism) must actually be a little under 15.5 feet; this is 0.75 foot on each side (in addition to Leaven's measurements), likely to account for each half of the "hallway" that each room contributes on each side (the space inside of the doors/hatches). The aforementioned "outer width" figure is per a coarse approximation of...

  (434 − (26 + 2) × 14) ÷ (26 + 2 + 1) + 14
...where 2 is added to 26 (the number of rooms) to account for extra space between the outer shell and the collections of rooms, and 1 is added to 28 (the 2 plus the 26) to represent the number of gaps between the rooms along an axis. (We've rounded the expression's result to the nearest half.) Consequently, we don't actually know how many rooms are located in the cube, but 17,576 is the maximum based on information given in the film. In fact, it's probably less; when Leaven, Worth, and Kazan are waiting for the bridge to move into place, they peek outside of a door, but not into another room nor towards the outer shell. Leaven then looks up and sees a room coming down a long corridor. While the limited space between the rooms and the outer shell would allow for some movement, it's likely that "routes" exist within the structure as well.

Rooms can be found in five different colors—red, amber, green, blue, and white. However, the colors are no indication of whether or not a room is trapped. The various colors only serve to show viewers that the players are moving from room to room as they search for the way out.

As Leaven was saying numbers of previous trapped rooms around the twentieth minute of the movie, she mentioned 083, meaning the numbers can begin with zeros. Let's assume the lowest possible number is 000 and the highest as 999. There are 168 prime numbers between 000 and 999. They are:

  002, 003, 005, 007, 011, 013, 017, 019, 023, 029, 031, 037, 
  041, 043, 047, 053, 059, 061, 067, 071, 073, 079, 083, 089, 
  097, 101, 103, 107, 109, 113, 127, 131, 137, 139, 149, 151, 
  157, 163, 167, 173, 179, 181, 191, 193, 197, 199, 211, 223, 
  227, 229, 233, 239, 241, 251, 257, 263, 269, 271, 277, 281, 
  283, 293, 307, 311, 313, 317, 331, 337, 347, 349, 353, 359, 
  367, 373, 379, 383, 389, 397, 401, 409, 419, 421, 431, 433, 
  439, 443, 449, 457, 461, 463, 467, 479, 487, 491, 499, 503, 
  509, 521, 523, 541, 547, 557, 563, 569, 571, 577, 587, 593, 
  599, 601, 607, 613, 617, 619, 631, 641, 643, 647, 653, 659, 
  661, 673, 677, 683, 691, 701, 709, 719, 727, 733, 739, 743, 
  751, 757, 761, 769, 773, 787, 797, 809, 811, 821, 823, 827, 
  829, 839, 853, 857, 859, 863, 877, 881, 883, 887, 907, 911, 
  919, 929, 937, 941, 947, 953, 967, 971, 977, 983, 991, 997.

All but one person die. Alderson is killed in the first few minutes of the film when a metal grate descends upon him, slicing his body into cubes. Rennes has his face eaten away by acid that sprays him as he is climbing from one room into another. Dr Holloway falls to her death in the space between the rooms and the outer shell when Quentin lets go of her hand. Quentin then kills Leaven and Worth by stabbing them with a door handle. Quentin is crushed to death when caught between two shifting rooms. Only Kazan makes it through the bridge to the outside.

It is not revealed in either this film or the sequel. The location of the Cube and who runs it is finally shown in the third film, Cube Zero.

It's pretty much each viewer's choice of how to interpret the movie. Some see the Cube as a laboratory where people are trapped like rats in a maze to demonstrate what personal characteristics will be of most service to finding the way out. Others think of the Cube as a place to either test out various types of deathtraps or eliminate individuals who are unwanted in the outside world. Still others view the movie as a metaphor for the prisons that each of the characters have built around themselves (note that each character's name is also the name of a well-known prison, e.g., Leavenworth (Kansas), Rennes (France), Kazan (Russia), San Quentin (California), etc.) or possibly just a metaphor for life, such that we are all born into a world not of our making, nor do we understand our purpose, who created this world, what dangers we are going to meet along the way, and so forth. Finally, some viewers, just like Worth, see the Cube as a "headless blunder," at one point perhaps having a purpose, but the purpose having been long forgotten.

Unfortunately no. Several countries do have strict standing orders with regard to movies, and you can't always be sure to get an uncensored version whilst traveling countries. For example, in Singapore, Cube was released in a slightly censored version, missing several violent scenes. A detailed comparison between the Singapore Version and the original uncut version can be found here.


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