Imagine waking up to find yourself in a room that is 14 by 14 by 14. The walls, ceiling and floor all are identical. A strange rumbling is heard off in the distance. This is the situation explored in Cube. Many reviews of this movie out right panned it. I have to say at the start of this review that I adamantly disagree. Cube is reminiscent of some of the experimental theater I loved to see in my college days. It is on the surface, a very simple premise, yet, it presents a vehicle to explore a lot about human nature. If you enjoy watching reasonable people trapped in very unreasonable circumstances than this movie is definitely for you.
The cast of this movie is excellent. Most of it has been recruited from TV but just because an actor is on the small screen there is no reason to suppose the talent is any less than the actors that frequent the movies. Each character represents or portrays a type of the human condition, logic, emotion, rage, fear etc. Each person trapped in this cubic maze is completely different from everyone else yet all must find a way to work together to not only solve the puzzle but to stay alive and escape. Nicole deBoer, (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), is one of a group of people that awaken to find themselves in this massive cube. She is apparently a high school math wizard. Young, naïve, but able to do complicated math in her head. Youngest of the group finds herself looking for leadership, confidence and hope. Nicky Guadagni is a doctor, cynical and somewhat paranoid. Her fear of an all-powerful group or government playing with peoples lives seems to be realized in the cube. She immediately finds herself at odds with a cop played by Maurice Dean Wint (Tek Wars). He rapidly tries to assume the role of leader and driving force to escape even though his methods are almost brutally direct. Other characters that flesh out this tale are a retarded man, an escape artist/convict, and a designer. Each one adds to the growing tension as the true nature of the cube and the people begins to unravel. Some feel that the dialogue is at times over the top. I didnt feel this was accurate. The acting is often a bit overly dramatic but it slams home the points being made. The story reminded me a lot of No Exit, where three mutually disagreeable people are trapped for eternity in a small room. Each room the group goes to is about the same as the previous and the next. The big catch is some rooms are equipped with deadly traps that instantly kill any that enter.
The director, Vincenzo Natali, does an excellent job of holding this story together and making you want to watch it. I found myself wondering what new twist would be introduced. His set is simple, a 14 foot cube of a stage. Different color lights helps to show that a new room is entered. Natali brings out just enough information at the right time to keep things interesting. He permits the actors to develop their characters in their own, personal manner. You are faced not only with trying to determine the purpose and function of the cube but also the human personalities trapped within it. It makes for interesting cinema that reminds me a lot of some experimental theater I used to go to in college.
The DVD is well done considering the story was presented on the Sci-Fi channel. It is in 1:1.85 aspect ratio with Dolby 2.0 surround sound. The disc includes the original storyboards, artwork and three deleted scenes. If you like the off-beat, you will enjoy this movie.