In honour of Canada Day on July 1st and my birthday yesterday, I decided to pick a decidedly Canadian film to recommend tonight. I first saw this one years ago and it’s just as good now as it was then. It’s a really innovative concept and it’s executed quite well considering the budget that it was working with. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m confident that if you watch it tonight, you will not be disappointed.
Cube is about six people who find themselves trapped in a series of square rooms. All of these rooms (or cubes) are connected on each side by another room. Some of the rooms are booby trapped and some are safe. They have to try and navigate the rooms and escape. They all bring something unique to the table and none of them remembers how they got there. As suspicions rise and tensions flare, it becomes more and more difficult to keep a level head while trying to navigate the maze and escape seems increasingly unlikely.
Directed by Canadian Vincenzo Natali, this film is a true ode to what can be done in a low budget movie. The vast majority of the movie takes place in a constructed 14×14×14 room that has different light filters to make the room appear different through the use of colour when the characters travel from one room to the next. In reality, the whole movie is simply filmed in this same, contructed room. It’s such a simple premise and it is used to great effect here. It’s incredible what a low budget movie is capable of.
On the downside, there are moments when the writing is not very strong and the acting is fairly weak as well. The concept is sound, the storyline is well developed, the other components just don’t follow through. That being said, this movie is still worth the watch. It’s weaknesses are far outweighed by it’s strengths. There is quite a bit of tension built throughout and more than enough thrills. There’s a feeling of anticipation in this movie; the characters are so desperate but it doesn’t seem like there’s any hope for them. We, as the audience, are left feeling a little desperate as well. All the paranoia and fear builds into a fair amount of suspense.
This movie is very reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. It’s almost as if one of the episodes jumped off the screen and became a feature length film. The puzzle feeling of it is enough to make you think about how they should go about saving themselves and what you would do in a similar situation. The characters each fill out a different role and they all have such variety in their personalities that it reads like a case study on how different people deal with stressful situations. Again, the acting doesn’t allow for this concept to be developed as fully as it could have been, but the idea is there.
Overall, this movie does have it’s faults. Neither the acting nor the writing is very strong. It’s almost enough to take you out of the movie but it’s worth holding on. The innovation in the set design and the griping concept are enough to keep your blood pumping. There are a lot of things here that make this movie one that I will come back to again and again; it’s not just because it’s a Canadian film, although that does help.
Give it a watch and let me know what you think.