Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I finally saw Cube. I first heard about it from Neil Gaiman a few years back, when he mentioned the director, Vincenzo Natali, was attached to direct the Jim Henson Productions version of Neverwhere (provided a suitable script ever got written). It's an interesting film, and I liked it a lot. It had a very 1970s SF vibe going--that sort of character-driven, focus on the cerebral approach that avoids flash-and-spectacle. A great deal of that has to do with operating on a low budget, but it also prompts creative storytelling.

The setup is simple: A group of disparate people abruptly wake up (separately) inside glowing cubes, with doors set in each of the six faces. Each door leads to another, nearly identical cube. Except some cubes contain ghoulishly creative death traps. Eventually, the people find each other, and begin trying to puzzle a way out of the Rubik's Cube from hell.

Some of the acting is pretty rough in places, and the pacing inconsistent at times. I liked Nicole de Boer in this, which was surprising, since her stint on Deep Space 9 left me underwhelmed. The traps--at least when the characters blunder into them--were pretty graphic and horrific. I don't normally go for that sort of thing, but the deaths were spaced out and the flick relied more on building psychological tension than gore to spook the audience. I hear there's a sequel out, called Hypercube, but I don't think I'll seek it out. Cube is so effective because so many questions remain unanswered. They'd have to address some of those in a sequel, and I doubt the concept would fare well under that kind of analysis.

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