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The entire cast were pretty much unknown when the film was made (and most still are), but they all gave fine performances throughout. Without the successful casting this film could have easily been a disaster, as it is almost entirely character driven. I'm glad to say that definitely is not the case.
Despite the low budget and practically unknown cast, the film manages to be clever, intriguing, thought-provoking and highly enjoyable. sadly, this film is probably a one off, i can't think of another low budget film that has half the impact of this one.
8/10 and worth every point
"Cube" is an innovative little thriller that can safely dodge accusations of blandness or mediocrity. The premise is simple and the plight of the characters is highly relative despite its surrealistic science fiction setting. Six individuals find themselves trapped in a cube comprised of many rooms linked together, with no readily visible way out, no rations, tools or explanation for being there, with traps set up in some of the rooms. An apparent experiment on how people think and react to certain situations and the transformations they might undergo.
The simplicity of the film and the cube itself are the film's strongest assets and can probably account for it's international success, notably in Japan. It's low budget production costs came under $400,000. But they got a really good bang for their buck with some help from special effects houses that provided their services free of charge. As the director has commented on the audio commentary track of the DVD, one aspect they were going for was a way to have an action flick in one room. They pulled it off quite nicely. Another interesting tidbit brought to light was that each character's name is after a prison.
A curious aspect of this Canadian film was its surprisingly short run in Canadian cinemas. In speaking with one of the film's producers, Mehra Meh, I learned that despite it's award as "Best First Feature" at the Toronto Film Festival of 1997, the film run in Canada came a year later and was just for a few short weeks before it was yanked from theaters and then showcased internationally. When time came for the DVD release, I found another perplexing development. It was only available as an import. A Canadian film only available as an import in Canada? It wasn't until months later that it was released domestically.
In any case, the film is available now and worth checking out if you have interest in the psychological thriller fare. Those who work their days or nights (or both) in a cubicle may wish to pass on this one, as it just might be too close to home.
A group of seven people find themselves trapped in some sort of maze of cubes. They're all different colors and to make matters more interesting, some are booby trapped. They have no recollection of how they got there, nor do they have a clue how to get out. It becomes a battle of wits to stay sane and survive.
There's an overall sense of creepiness, doom, and claustrophobia that overshadows the whole movie, not to mention the paranoia that sinks into both the characters and you as you watch. You only know as much as the characters-you don't know how they got into the cubes, what they're for, or any of the typical exposition. And although most of the characters were annoying, it put you side by side with them, which helped a lot. If you get to be next to the characters, you can understand their actions more. However, you do (somewhat) find out what these cubes were made for, which kind of dampers the whole thing, but it's still very interesting to go through.
But when the climax comes about, the movie descends into hokey B-horror land, with a terrorized killer stalking most of the people. When the original exploration of the cubes subsides and you get the people walking around, also, the interest starts to wane. It's often repetitive, but the booby traps are quite, for lack of a better word, fun. But that doesn't mean that the original creativity has gone away, it's just not as interesting. But I really liked Cube, and if you see it, you will too.
My rating: 7/10
Rated R for some strong sci-fi violence/gore and language.
The air of mystery prevails throughout. The pace is perfect, which surprised me, given the limited amount the characters could actually do. And the ending doesn't sell out the rest of the movie, which films with this level of mystery often do.
And then, about 20 minutes before the end, it begins to collapse! The mathematical calculations become IMPOSSIBLE to decipher and follow. A major character changes his behavior completely. And the ending is a real disappointment. Some people have said it's "surprising"; I think it's a total cop-out. It doesn't provide any explanations, and it doesn't provide any clues for us to try to figure it out on our own. I watched the last five minutes three times. They leave you with an intense "THAT'S IT?" feeling.
Overall, this movie is definitely worth seeing, and the acting isn't nearly as bad as most people say, but be prepared for a HIGHLY unsatisfying ending. 6/10.
Performances across the board are OK so my real complaint is with the writers as they take us through the cube, nothing is ever resolved or explained - yeah, we get to hear that no one is currently in charge of the cube, but please, don't insult viewers by simply asking us to believe that this thing just magically got built with no conceivable purpose but to zap people! Then there's the ending - talk about lack of resolution. This was definitely a case of 'ok, we have enough film in the can, time to quit' - and that's exactly what they do. Had the writers spent some time and come up with a creative ending, it could have save this film and made it a true 7.5. But as is, I'd say take a pass unless it's the only thing available.
Deeply mysterious, Cube chronicles the story of seven different people as they travel through an apparently endless system of interlinked cube structures with six doors each to adjacent cubes. Relying on each others' individual characteristics and skills to get them through, they desperately attempt to escape their geometric hell.
With a single claustrophobic set used for shooting , one undeniable thing about Cube is the originality of its premise. Reworking the concept of the maze thriller in all sorts of new dimensions, it brings an interesting newness to the subgenre. The potential presented in the early scenes of the film is large; the opening scene immensely entertaining and indicative of good things to come from the original and intriguing concept. The implementation of this idea is, however, cripplingly flawed. Suffering painfully all the faults of clunky and unrealistic dialogue, the film does little to improve it with some substandard performances. The characters, though mildly interesting, seem to react in entirely absurd ways at times, doing much to detract from the audience sympathy vote: Kazan, an autistic character, is often just offensively portrayed; Leaven, the "math whiz", takes her time in trying to decide if multiples of 5 and 2 are prime numbers. The film is full of holes and massive flaws, turning it from a film of considerable potential to, at times, an infuriatingly contrived work. All that aside, it is actually quite enjoyable once you accept and expect its regular absurdity. Plot twists are painfully obvious, but the path to them is at least a fun one to tread, some of the tensions rising between characters interesting, if not effective or believable. Though it does little to establish itself as a particularly good movie, it's at least not a terrible one.
With flaws aplenty, many of them just silly and stupid, Cube falls flat on its face more than once, suffering regularly from its less than convincing dialogue and unintentionally funny developments. Entertaining all the same, it's certainly original.
After I told her, she understood a little better. Here's what I said to her...
The left hand didn't know what the right was doing as Worth put it. The Cube was something that never should've been built but it was.
Worth says, "There is no conspiracy. Nobody is in charge. It's a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan."
He also says,"This is an accident, a forgotten, perpetual public works project. You think anybody wants to ask questions? All they want is a clear conscience and a fat paycheck."
I think one of the most important lines in the film is from Rennes (the escape artist) who says, "No more talking. No more guessing. Don't even think about nothing that's not right in front of you. That's the real challenge. You've gotta save yourselves from yourselves."
He couldn't have been more right.
The end of the film and who makes it out was a lesson on social breakdown. The Cube should never have been built but when it was, the people who created it realized what they had done and simply decided to make use of it rather than let it sit unused. They put people in it.
So in a way it doesn't have a greater purpose...but yet it does....in the lessons learned by watching the characters inside of it. The Cube is just a gigantic empty device until you add that human element to it. That's where the real fun begins and that's what makes it interesting.
Quentin (the evil cop) was pretty accurate when he said,
"This place is... remember Scaramanga? The bad guy in "The Man With The Golden Gun?" It's some rich psycho's entertainment."
And in a way he was right. The Cube really doesn't serve any purpose but to provide its creators with a sick form of entertainment.
Cube, above all is a fantastic multi-character study combined with sci-fi elements. One of the reasons I like it is because at it's core, it is very simple...but yet it is also very complex at the same time. Kind of like a Rubik's cube. Sitting on someone's desk collecting dust, a Rubik's cube will simply sit there...it has no purpose. But when a human picks it up and starts turning and twisting it....well you get the idea. I wouldn't be surprised if the Rubik's cube was the inspiration for the writers to write Cube.
Hopefully this helps.
I watch a lot of trash -- for a variety of reasons. One of them is that I am sometimes pleasantly surprised. I was blown away with the intelligence of `Ninth Gate,' for instance. I thought `Scary Movie' was a really clever goof on its viewers.
This film pleasantly surprises. It is unremarkable in most of the normal respects: the cinematography and most acting is pedestrian. The directing and editing is poor. So where's the reward?
The conception is brilliant. The sets are Shakespearian, with no props, essentially no costumes. In fact, essentially the whole film is in ostensibly different, but identical small rooms. It is all pure drama which hinges less on what you see, instead the situation that is created by dialog. The center of this film is built in your imagination, on incomplete fragments rattling around in there -- paranoid fragments about the nature of fate, trust and a society allied against you.
What really appeals to me is how much sense this world makes. The design of the maze makes great sense; the mathematics is accessible and correct (not like `Pi' or `Omega Code'), as is the visual notion of the rooms moving. The logic of the physical space contrasts with the total ignorance about who created this situation and why. Since the cinematic vocabulary is made so clear, the angst about the outside society is made more acute.
I think the basic notion works a whole lot better than, say the second `Alien' or the first `Die Hard,' both of which are basically escape movies leavened by `Ship of Fools.'
This is a likely target for a remake with a better budget, a much better candidate than, say `The Professional.' Imagine if these folks had the money and creative talent of the disastrous `The Cell.' If this was remade, though, the extra money need not go into more elaborate sets. The sparceness of the sets is part of its strength. Instead, the money needs to go into script dialog, better actors (but deBoer isn't bad), a real score, and some competent cinematography. This would be a natural for a real artist.
As it is, it is still worth viewing. Think of it as slightly illustrated radio. Seen this way, it is worthy of a young Welles.
Don't read this if you haven't seen it.
I loved the idea of people being trapped in this maze and not knowing why or how, superb idea. Of course I don't know how one would react in such a situation, but why would this cop, a man who does good, go crazy and start killing and beating people for no apparent reason? Kind of stupid if you ask me.
Also...as one of the other comments mentioned...how would this so-called cop get to the end of the maze on his own? There is no way he could get anywhere without the girl genius or the autistic guy. ...Ok, so let's assume that he does get to the end of the maze...why didn't Leavin and Worth hear the door opening when the "cop" came into the room?
This movie went from a great sci-fi, mind-job movie to a retarded horror pointless story.
Here's a question for the Director/Writer...Why on earth did you have these characters go through hell just to die at the brink of escaping? What a let down!!!
That's my two cents. Thanks.
The cop coming back to kill those last two characters was, lets face it, because they couldn't think of another way to get rid of them. And the ending itself was another cop out. 'existentialist?' American Beauty is existentialist. Fear X is existentialist. This is just a mess.
Cool traps and situations do not a film make. There is so much missing from this film that I really cannot find much to recommend it. And, after the whole experience, nothing is resolved, nothing is discussed, just a bunch of immature conspiracy theories that are supposed to make people think 'yes, they're being clever by not explaining things' whereas they are actually making extremely generalized statements and trying to pass it off as philosophy and social analysis.
It isn't really about the prison, though. It's about how people react to stress. And it's about the design of the prison.
The basic premise reads like a Twilight-Zone episode. 6 people wake up in a series of interconnected rooms. Some of these rooms kill their occupants in various ways.
Each person was placed there with a specific function in mind. One person is a cop, who has leadership qualities. One is a doctor, able to treat the wounded. One is a high-school student, who's math knowledge is still fresh in her mind. One is one of the people who built a component of the place, who brings unique knowledge of the prison. One is apparently autistic, able to perform complex math computations easily. One is an escape artist loner-type who gets himself killed early on to remind the audience that anyone can die.
The prison acts as a personality-conflict engine, as it forces people to interact to save each other's lives and their own.
It's a great premise, the interlocking prison that they have to figure out the secrets to. And, as with any human endeavor, dealing with each other becomes increasingly hard as dehydration and stress wear down their patience.
The problem comes when one of them, quite suddenly, snaps and starts killing them. For no apparent reason.
I understand that tensions were running high. But when the most likable and reasonable character in the entire movie starts going nuts and killing people for no apparent reason, it kinda sullies the character interactions.
Granted, this was a problem with the dialog as a whole. People thrust into the situation seemed entirely too unwilling to tell each other things. I can understand panic. But after an hour in the death maze, when someone asks what skills you could contribute, I would expect people to give a full resume/CV including personal histories, not, "I'm a doctor, like 10 million others." There was a lot of confrontation in the movie, even at the beginning when dehydration and exhaustion hadn't set in yet. They just seemed to want to argue rather than attempt to reason a way out.
Despite the ending and a degree of contravity with the dialog, the movie works reasonably well.