1997. Director. Vincenzo Natali.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
CUBE sparked my love for Canadian filmmaker Vincenzo Natali. It was made at a time when I was exploring cinema on a deeper level and was beginning to overlook a lot of mainstream stuff in favour of the more subversive. I was also living in Canada at the time and my interest in local directors was at fever pitch. The day I first saw CUBE was a day when I had my mind well and truly fucked. I went along to a double feature which also included Jean-Pierre Jeunet's CITY OF LOST CHILDREN and by the time I walked out of the cinema I was fried. What the hell had I just seen? CUBE is both simplistic and incredibly complex. The set-up has a group of people waking up inside a cubed room. All 6 walls have doors and each door leads to another identical room with 6 more doors... and so on. Some of the rooms are rigged with deadly booby traps, while others provide safe passage to the next room. The characters have no recollection of how they got there or what the place even is. By methods of deduction and sheer luck they soon unravel secrets of how to decypher numerical codes, which are branded into each room and discover that each of them has a specific purpose for being inside the cube. The premise is simple but the solution is complex and astronomical. This is a smart film that's intricately constructed, well written and brilliantly told. For a film that takes place in one setting and is, for the most part claustrophobic, CUBE is about as captivating and suspenseful as they come. It's a psychological thriller, gently seasoned with horror. Brainiacs will rejoice the complexity of the mathematics and the rest of us will relish the mystery. To fully understand CUBE, you need to resist the obvious questions. What? How? Why? ... these are all irrelevant. We are presented with one simple fact... that they ARE in this predicament and HOW will they get out of it? CUBE is a belter and if you've never seen it, then what are you doing? It was followed by two sequels, neither of which lived up to this original... although number three (CUBE ZERO) does offer some very satisfying revelations. You should also explore Vincenzo Natali's career... his films are unique, divisive and wonderful. NOTHING is the highlight for me. Simply stunning.