×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cube

Brilliant set design and smart plotting are let down by pedestrian dialogue in "Cube," an enigmatic sci-fier about ordinary people locked into a giant maze of metal boxes.

With:
Quentin ..... Maurice Dean Wint Leaven ..... Nicole deBoer Holloway ..... Nicky Guadagni Worth ..... David Hewlett Rennes ..... Wayne Robson Kazan ..... Andrew Miller Alderson ..... Julian Richings

Brilliant set design and smart plotting are let down by pedestrian dialogue in “Cube,” an enigmatic sci-fier about ordinary people locked into a giant maze of metal boxes. Concept, and its impressive-looking execution, are strong enough to guarantee low-budget pic — which won a prize in Toronto as best Canadian first feature — a prominent place on vid shelves, if not in theater space.

Pic gets off to a dazzling start, with one unfortunate citizen (Nosferatu-like Julian Richings) waking up in a square metallic cell and, naturally, looking for a way out. He finds one. Unfortunately, the next room is booby-trapped with ingeniously placed razor-wire, and the poor shmoe is literally sliced to bits before he knows what hits him.

Thus is it made abundantly clear how high the stakes are in “Cube,” even before the six other main characters are introduced. With their drab prison uniforms and fogged-out memories, the former civilians — who gradually stumble into one another — have no idea how they got to the place, which seems to be an endless maze of boxy chambers, with most holding deadly (and different) surprises.

The group’s would-be leader is Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint), a cop in “real” life, and just the sort of no-guff guy to tough it out — and to make big mistakes. Challenging him is an equally blunt woman, Dr., Holloway (Nicky Guadagni), an avid conspiracy theorist who figures the Cube is part of some right-wing plot. This is at least partially confirmed by Worth (David Hewlett), a cynical, low-level bureaucrat who recalls working on a tiny portion of the government-funded project. (Whose government this is, is never discussed.)

Then there is Rennes (Wayne Robson), a former crook and escape artist whose skills come in handy. Leaven (Nicole deBoer), a young math student, doesn’t appear to have much to offer the group until they realize that the rooms are numerically coded. Finally, they are joined by Kazan (Andrew Miller), a mentally challenged man whose erratic behavior threatens their survival; of course, he has some (rather predictable) savant-like tricks up his sleeve.

Physically and psychologically, first-time helmer Vincenzo Natali, who scripted with two others, has fashioned a real Rubik’s Cube of a story. Designer Jasna Stefanovic and several f/x crews, working with few resources, have come up with a dazzling array of sharp turns and nasty gewgaws to keep the tale’s futuristic lady-or-the-tiger momentum going.

Too bad none of the characters has anything remotely interesting to say; dialogue is dominated by TV-like palaver that makes “Star Trek” banter sound like Stephen Hawking. Having constructed such an impressive shell, filmmakers seem to have little clue as to what comment they mean to make about society. Cast members are all at least adequate at glaring, sweating and swearing — except for Guadagni, a legit veteran who delivers every line as if she’s sitting on sharpened metal.

These disappointments — not to mention a grim, violent finish — put “Cube’s” theatrical life in doubt. Still, the tech aspects are so accomplished and intriguing, with Mark Korven’s minimalist music repping another bonus, that pic is bound to attract a cult among home-box prisoners.

Cube

Canadian

Production: A Trimark release of a Cineplex Odeon presentation of a Cube Libre (Toronto) production, as part of the Feature Film Project, with support from Telefilm Canada, OFDC, Viacom Canada. Produced by Mehra Meh, Betty Orr. Executive producers, Colin Brunton, Justine Whyte. Directed by Vincenzo Natali. Screenplay, Natali, Andre Bijelic, Graeme Manson.

Crew: Camera (color), Derek Rogers; editor, John Sanders; music, Mark Korven; production design, Jasna Stefanovic; art direction, Diana Magnus; sound, Steve McNamee; special effects, CORE Digital Pictures; assistant director, Patrick Tidy.

With: Quentin ..... Maurice Dean Wint Leaven ..... Nicole deBoer Holloway ..... Nicky Guadagni Worth ..... David Hewlett Rennes ..... Wayne Robson Kazan ..... Andrew Miller Alderson ..... Julian Richings

More Film

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

  • A Womans Work-The NFLs Cheerleader Problem

    Tribeca Documentaries Explore Gender Issues in Sport

    Up until recently, what it meant to be a professional female athlete in a world dominated by men wasn’t an issue that garnered high volumes of public interest, let alone national headlines. But that all changed in October 2017 when stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper [...]

  • Lizzo Coachella Valley Music and Arts

    Lizzo Joins Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in Stripper Film 'Hustlers'

    After the release of her third album and a pair of high-profile Coachella performances, Lizzo announced today that she will be joining Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in the stripper-themed film “Hustlers.” Based on a true story, the film focuses on strippers who band together to turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street male [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Marc Malkin The Big Ticket Podcast

    Variety, iHeartMedia Launch New Film Podcast 'The Big Ticket' With Marc Malkin

    Variety and iHeartMedia have announced the premiere of “The Big Ticket,” a new weekly film-focused podcast hosted by Marc Malkin, the magazine’s senior film awards and events & lifestyle editor. The podcast will feature sit-down interviews with Hollywood’s hottest stars and filmmakers talking movies, the business and more. New episodes will be released every Thursday [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content