Eight candidates for a highly desirable corporate job are locked together in an exam room and given a final test with just one question. It seems simple yet confusing that soon, tensions begin to unravel.
Six different people, each from a very different walk of life, awaken to find themselves inside a giant cube with thousands of possible rooms. Each has a skill that becomes clear when they must band together to get out: a cop, a math whiz, a building designer, a doctor, an escape master, and a disabled man. Each plays a part in their thrilling quest to find answers as to why they've been imprisoned.Written by
Effective thriller that sticks close to the clever premise to keep it simple and very enjoyable
Quentin wakes up in a square room with exits on each wall. Soon he is joined by other people, strangers, who also have no idea where they are. Looking around they find that each room leads to another one that looks just the same. One of the group is the famous prison escape artist Rennes, who realises that some of the rooms are booby-trapped but that he thinks he has got the solution. With no other ideas the group follow him and try to evade the traps and stay alive all the time with absolutely no idea of why they are here or who has imprisoned them.
I heard about this film years ago but only recently managed to find it on television to watch. It is hard to think that it is almost a decade old now but that it is still effective and a regular cult movie that people will still talk about. Its power is in its simplicity every room is the same and every next room could be safe or could be a trap; there is no reason for any of it and there appears to be no way out. Usually this sort of stuff makes for a great pitch but not always a good movie because the idea can't stretch beyond a catchy gimmick, however here it does it and makes it look easy. The whole film is our characters trying to work their way through the rooms without getting horribly killed. This in itself is gripping and at times unbearable to watch horror fans may be disappointed that long periods go by without a lot of gore but personally I prefer tension to the delivery.
At the same time we also get the characters feeding the mystery of the cube, building the tension and the sense of hopelessness without ever really solving anything. It answers questions with more questions and keeps things moving well. The development of the characters is better than I expected and I liked the way that the film played with the characters, changing them as the film went along. It isn't a fantastic character piece but again it is just something that helps keep the film moving and I suppose it was interesting to see the nature of people come out. In that regard I was also impressed by the cast. I had expected poor performances from a low budget film but actually they were all quite good. Wint is best but towards the end his performance became a bit too simplistic. Hewlett underplays and probably has the least character to deal with but is still good. De Boer was effective and interesting. Robson was a nice distraction. Guadagni was a good counterweight for Wint and played well to develop him and herself at the same time. Miller was good and the pace of the film helped distract from him basically doing a Rain Man impression.
Overall an impressive low budget thriller that works because it sticks to the simple idea while building side issues with the characters and the cube around it but never actually solving anything. Perhaps it is better not to over praise it because I thought it was at its best because I didn't know what was going to happen.
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