Cube

Cube

****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

A group of strangers wake up in a cubic room with no apparent memory of how they got there. On each of the four walls, the ceiling and the floor is a hatch leading to an apparently identical room lit in a different colour. But at least some of the rooms contain deadly traps. What can they do? How can they make their escape?

A brilliantly conceived, tightly written thriller, Cube takes this simple plot and plays it out through a sequence of moves without ever losing its grip on the viewer. Though we never get to know much about the backgrounds of the characters (who are all named after prisons), the tense situation quickly reveals who they are as people, and the way they play off one another becomes as fascinating (and potentially deadly) as the larger plot. Although this is in large part a film about numbers (playing with diverse notions from primes to Tarot, and full of hidden geeky jokes) it is never dry nor unduly pretentious. You won't need to be a mathematician to appreciate it though it will have added appeal for those who enjoy puzzles.

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Cube is a superb example of innovative filmmaking on a low budget. What is the cube? Who made it? Various theories are put forward, but the film also encourages us to wonder whether this matters. Obsessed by their immediate circumstances, are these people failing to appreciate a bigger picture? Could it be that the mentally disabled man they find wandering on his own might actually understand more than they do?

Cube is a modest film and necessarily limited, but it will certainly give you pause for thought. Well worth checking out.

Reviewed on: 05 Jun 2009
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A group of strangers wake up trapped in a strange cubic room - and that's the least of their problems.
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Director: Vincenzo Natali

Writer: André Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali

Starring: Nicole de Boer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson, Maurice Dean Wint

Year: 1997

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada

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