Cube (1997)

Cube is a movie that you can characterize as unique with complete confidence. I watched it on a whim, after numbing my brain with the non-stop and very one-sided killing in John Wick 3. I needed a movie to un-lock my brain from all that violence, so I chose Cube. Bad choice, as I traded endless breaking glass, knives, gunfire and pain for a total mind bend. Cube does not give you a “why”, but like the universe, it is just there. Cube was not excessively gory and violent, although there were a couple of scenes that vividly demonstrated the frailty of the human body against well accelerated physics or deadly chemistry. I’m talking about piano wire at the speed of sound and acid that would dissolve the Rosetta Stone. Enough spoilers, on with the review.

Cube was directed by the Canadian Vincenzo Natali. Never heard of him? Me either, but he accomplished one of the most interesting films I have ever watched. The movie is loosely based on the Twilight Zone episode Five Characters in Search of an Exit and also by the “New Avengers” episode Angels of Death in which the way out of deadly maze is always just out of reach and destroys the minds of those trapped within. (Thanks to my friend, Len Hazell)

There were seven humans (that we saw) that woke up in a maze of cubes. Each cube was connected to other cubes by airlocks. You could move at your peril, or stay in your safe cube and die of starvation and dehydration. This maze consisted of some deadly traps and two of the humans were quickly dispatched in horrible fashion, giving the viewers a quick tutorial as to what we were in for. The five remaining had to put their heads together and try to figure a way out. A cube has 6 sides. There were a lot of cubes. The odds for their success became exponentially astronomical.

The 5 remaining captives in this metallic cube of horrors included a police officer, a female physician, an engineer, a woman math student, and an autistic young man. The essence of the movie was the interaction of the prisoners and the unique resources that each had to contribute to their escape and survival. As you might imagine, there was deadly peril around each corner, and tensions ran high as the captives not only battled the prison, but each others wills as well.

To elaborate further would simply give away too much of the plot. We are never given the “what” this thing is or the “why” that it exists. Equally puzzling is the “how” the people got there and the “why” of them being chosen for this bizarre fate. There were some broad hints as to the mechanics of what was actually going on, and yes, it was fully expected that the retard would eventually go Rain Man on us. We also knew that tempers would flare; it was inevitable.

Cube was a movie directed by an unknown, with virtually unknown actors. There was not gratuitous bloodshed and violence, just enough to make you a little squeamish, and to appreciate the very dire situation. The acting was more than adequate with a high-strung cop, a math student savant, a social justice warrior female physician, a despairing engineer (rightfully so!), and an autistic young man. This film was very simple and also endlessly complex. It was quite well made, especially with the foreboding mechanical sounds, a constant reminder of what was actually happening.

This film was well worth the 90 minutes of viewing time. The movie had flaws, but I think that the strengths totally outweighed the flaws. Do we ever find out what is going on and why this thing exists? Watch it and see. Sure, some of it was predictable and perhaps a little annoying, but for a sci-fi, horror/thriller movie, I recommend it. It never for a minute failed to keep my attention.

7.5/10.0 With the Goatesians Seal of Approval for unique films.  



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