Saturday, February 18, 2012

Netflix This: Cube

     I recently revisited Splice, the freaky 2009 film starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley about a couple who delve too deep into human/animal gene splicing. The film was a story about how science is almost about to catch up with fiction, creating a world in which a creature with human genes and animal genes seems entirely possible. The film's directed by a man named Vincenzo Natali, and I came to the realization that I had seen another one of his films a few years ago (his first film, actually). That film is called Cube.
     Cube is a simple and effective little sci-fi thriller that is extremely memorable in it's sparseness. A man wakes up. But he's not on a warm comforter-covered pillowtop mattress--he's on the hard and drab floor of a 14 by 14 foot cube. He has no clue where he is or how he could have possibly woken up there. Eventually he discovers that he is in the middle of a gigantic maze of interlocking cubes with six other people with no food or water to speak of. In case you didn't know, you need food and water to survive for longer than a short period of time, so the group must work together, moving from cube to cube to find a way out.
     Sounds pretty simple and boring, no? Thankfully (for the viewers of the movie Cube, not the characters locked inside), as the people move from box to box, they come across clever and brutal booby traps that pose problems for the seven individuals. Maybe one cube has a swinging, sharp blade that they all have to navigate if they don't want to lose a limb. Maybe another cube has a pressure sensitive floor that turns the cube into a fire-filled boiler. Whatever the problem may be, the cast does a great job with not much to work with: there's Quentin, a police officer who becomes the leader for the group. Holloway is a doctor who becomes overwhelmed with the stress of the situation. Rennes is a criminal escape artist who can't figure out how to escape. There's also Leaven and Kazan, a math teacher and autistic man, respectively, and their talents with numbers bring the group closer to the truth of their plight.
     The characters bring many theories to the table about their situation: could it be a government experiment to see how people react in a secluded environment? Could the group have been abducted by aliens and placed in a futuristic puzzle? Or is this just some rich man's "entertainment"? Ultimately, the answer doesn't particularly matter. Cube is a film about human beings and the helpfulness or betrayal that occurs when a group of people come together for a common goal: getting the fuck out of the cube, no matter what.

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