113 of 126 people found the following review helpful
Don't Look For A Reason... Look For A Way Out,
This review is from: Cube (DVD)
I like cubes...ice cubes, sugar cubes, beef bouillabaisse cubes, Rubik's Cubes (am I sound a bit like Forrest Gump?). So here we have a movie called Cube (1997). Actually, I purchased this a while ago, and since watched it a few times, but never got around to writing a review on it...until today. Directed and co-written by Vincenzo Natali (his first film), Cube has a relatively small cast featuring Nicole de Boer (Prom Night IV: Deliver Us from Evil), Nicky Guadagni (Storm of the Century-the TV mini-series, not the film), David Hewlett (Chasing Cain), Maurice Dean Wint (TekWar), Andrew Miller (Last of the Dogmen), and Wayne Robson (Cold Creek Manor). What that's? You've never heard of any of these actors? Well, neither did I, but then given the relatively low budget (well under $500,000) of this Canadian feature, I wasn't expecting Brad Pitt (or even his lesser known brother Stu Pitt...geddit? Stu Pitt? Ah well...)
As the story begins (the first scene is a hoot!), we witness a small group of rather disorientated people, dressed in prison-like garb, coming together within small, square room. They have no idea how they got there, or why, and have never met each other before now. We learn the intricately designed room is a cube, one of many, and each cube has six doors (one on each wall, along with the ceiling and the floor), each door leading to another cube. Also, some of the cubes contain lethal traps (acid, razor wire, flamethrowers, etc.) activated by a variety of different types of sensors. This just keeps getting better and better...as we meet the various members of this small group, we find out that each person seems to have a particular talent, and what first appeared to be just a random grouping of people throw into a wacky death maze, now seems to be something more...like each was picked for his or her specific talents. Well, that's seems like good news to the group, but the bad news is the pressures and the stress (along with a pinch of paranoia) threaten to tear the band of unfortunates apart, just as surely as the traps within the cube. As this plucky assemblage moves from room to room, they do find a pattern for orientation of the cubes, but is it one that will lead them to an exit? Or will it lead them to an acid soaked, sliced and diced, charbroiled demise? You'll just have to watch and see...
Alright, I will say this...the acting isn't that great, and the script and delivery of the dialog feels extremely clunky at times, but I was impressed and entertained with the originality of the story. As far as the story goes, we know as much about the situation the characters are in as they do, and learn things as they learn them, essentially putting the viewer in the cube, but without the possibly nastiness of suffering one of those ouchy traps. This will upset, frustrate, and even anger some viewers as people generally like to be in the know, like to have things explained, and need a reason for why things are...but I feel everything doesn't have to have a reason, and I don't need everything presented to me in easily digestible chunks. The film offers little to nothing in the way of what the cube is, its' purpose, or why these individuals were chosen to be placed inside. Also, the ending is purposely vague, as to coincide with the rest of the story. This sort of reminds me of Patrick McGoohan's popular Prisoner TV series...when it ended, some people were outraged at the ambiguousness of the ending, as they were looking for answers and yet few were forthcoming. I thought the direction was tight as Natali manages to keep things moving along. The set's pretty minimal, as they used the same cubed room over and over, but did give it the appearance of a different room by changing the colors. Nearly the entire film takes place in this cube, except for some scenes featuring some low budget, but decent CGI work.
One should be aware, as another reviewer pointed out, that there are (at this time) two different releases of this film on DVD. The one being sold here now is the new Signature Edition (the director's siggy is on the front), and released by Lions Gate Entertainment. The original DVD was released by Trimark, and has a slightly different cover. The newer release features a new anamorphic transfer with a new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix (Amazon has yet to update the DVD features on this product page). The Trimark release special features include Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, deleted scenes, comparative and alternate storyboards, production designs, set designs, special effects artwork, and a commentary featuring the director, actor Hewlett, and co-writer Andre Bijelic. The Lions Gate version has many same features (except the set design material and the voice over commentary on the deleted scenes), along with an interview with actress Nicole de Boer, and cleaned up menus. Also, they replaced the original commentary track with one featuring only the director. I mention this as if you are going to buy this used, make sure you get the version you want, either the original Trimark release or this new Lions Gate Signature release as there are differences, although the film is essentially the same. After reading many of the reviews, I see there are basically two opinions, those who really like the film, and those who hate it, suckered into watching it due to the good reviews. Well, I enjoyed the film, despite its' obvious flaws, but to those of you who have yet to see it, rent it first. For those interested, due to the popularity of this film in the realm of home video, a sequel called Cube 2:Hypercube (2002) was released. It's slicker than the original, not quite as good, but maybe worth a look if you liked this one.