Six strangers awaken from their daily lives to find themselves trapped in a surreal prison – a seemingly endless maze of interlocking cubical chambers armed with lethal booby traps. None of these people knows why or how they were imprisoned… But it soon emerges that each of them has a skill that could contribute to their escape. Who created this diabolical maze, and why? There are unanswered questions on every side, whilst personality conflicts and struggles for power emerge as the tension rises. But one thing is crystal clear; unless they can learn to co-operate to work out the secrets of this deadly trap, none of them has very long to live…
1997 – Certificate: 15 – Canada
Rating Details: Language, occasional, strong; violence, infrequent, strong, horror; other, horror, science fiction.
I tend to buy a few books for myself around Christmas. I think I do this because I have a bit more time then and when I’ve got time I start to think how nice it would be to read a book. So off I trotted (electronically) to Amazon. I decided to buy a couple of Star Trek novels. For various dull reasons, the first one I selected was called “Homecoming”. £200.68 new! £200.68!! For that price I’d expect it to come with a full-sized, fully operational Star Trek spaceship, including crew. Is there suddenly a world shortage of letters? Are the Chinese restricting exports of full stops, thus leading to frantic trading in alternative punctuation marks on global stock markets? Have the Americans finally realised that they can’t spell and bought up the entire world output of letter Us for the next five years, in an effort to correct all those misspelt references to colour? So anyway, I’ve ended up buying myself a Kindle, the cheapest one, which costs £69. I can now buy the book for £4.99. I am suffering a bit of a guilt trip though. I feel like I should be castigating Amazon for its over-effective use of British tax laws and in fact be refusing to buy anything from it in line with the recently announced boycott. Then there’s also the fact that I’ve effectively allowed myself to be locked into its proprietary file format and e-book system for the rest of my life. However, there’s a certain thrill in the idea that the first book I read on it will be a Star Trek one, a franchise that frequently depicts characters reading from a small pad that with hindsight looks suspiciously like a Kindle. As for the other issue, if you’re going to lock yourself into a sweet factory, it may as well be in Willy Wonka’s. This film also features people who’re locked in somewhere, but there’s not a lot of chocolate around, or books, e or otherwise.
I simultaneously love and hate this film. It’s a great and stylish horror/sci-fi thriller, with an unusual and suitably disturbing and clever storyline. I also like how by using only seven people and virtually just a single, small set, it manages to be such a good movie. It creates a tense atmosphere by making great use of sound and the claustrophobic set-up; the traps are ‘nicely’ presented too. Sadly, the characters in it lack any semblance of common sense, so they seem unbelievably stupid, despite their unique talents. There’s not a great deal of emotional intelligence on show, or indeed any sort of togetherness. I’ve seen more communication between passengers on the London Underground in the rush hour than this lot managed, such was their inability to interact meaningfully in a ‘mission-critical’ way. The way they develop and change during the film also stretches their credibility to pretty ridiculous levels. At first, they seemed like a group of people under a lot of pressure, which does tend to make individuals do some strange things, but then I found myself thinking, “what the fuck”? What sort of morons are these people? Why don’t they just work things out together like everyone else would? Haven’t any of them watched “The Poseidon Adventure”? The cliché of groups of people in films who’re trapped together and then not getting on, is getting to be as bad as the one involving groups’ of young people going to remote places for a ‘good time’ and then meeting a grizzly end. Their over or under reaction to different situations just seemed to have been determined by the writers throwing a dice. 6? Oh dear, you’re going to freak out. 1? That’s cool, you’ll barely notice what’s going on, you’re so laid back about it. It’s not that the acting is especially poor, it’s more the script that’s at fault. One plus point is that it’s got Nicole De Boer in it, the world’s third most beautiful woman, although she’s not looking her best, but I can forgive her for that given the circumstances. Nicole De Boer is of course, Lieutenant Ezri Dax from Star Trek Deep Space Nine. However, despite its shortcomings, Cube still manages to be a really good film. Weird eh?
Recommended for fans of clever sci-fi, who won’t let a few hot-headed characters spoil their geeky fun.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. However, two heads do get well and truly mangled.
Top badass moment? Given the uniformly un-cooperative, combative and plainly stupid behaviour of most of the characters most of the time, the top badass moments have to be whenever the Cube does something that pisses one of them off, or worse. It’s a sad day when you end up having to cheer for the mechanical baddie. If our ancestors conducted themselves in the same way, we’d still all be living in caves and bashing one another over the head with clubs. Get some anger management people, for goodness sake.
I spent this afternoon working, updating my financial budgets. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on these, yet somehow they never seem to be quite up to date or accurate enough for anyone. Numbers on a spreadsheet, there must be more to life than adding up endless numbers on a spreadsheet. It doesn’t achieve or change anything. A chief executive of a small, community regeneration charity in London once told me that “regeneration was invented to keep the liberal middle-classes happy”. I think she meant projects that are set up to make a difference to people don’t really achieve much, but keep a lot of the latter group in jobs that make them feel good about what they do. This film offers a similar view of the world. Its main character Andreas even spends his days in an office adding up numbers on a computer screen. Oh God, I think I’ve become him! I need to go find a window and throw myself out of it; (which someone in this film appears to do as well.)
2006 – Certificate: 15 – Norway
Rating Details: Scenes of strong gore
If you don’t like films with neat, tidy endings, or that make it clear what they’re about, then you’ll probably hate this one. I viewed it as a statement on the mundane, superficial and uncaring lifestyles that many of us live these days, but maybe that’s just me. As someone whose way of life is tissue-paper thin and pretty meaningless, I could relate to it. A mindfuck of a movie, this is a nicely made black comedy that’s well worth a watch. The snogging scene at the beginning is really quite disturbing and sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The best bit of escape tunnelling I’ve seen since “The Great Escape” too; and a much better plan than trying to play with subway trains. The more I’ve thought about it since I watched it a few days ago, the better it seems to become. It represents 20% of my entire Norwegian film collection as well.
Recommended for people who enjoy thinking about the films they watch.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, at one point a finger does get amputated by an office guillotine machine.
Top badass moment? Andreas digging a tunnel to try to escape from his mundane life. Despite being frequently surrounded by the mundane myself, it’s something I’ve personally never considered doing. Trying to escape from the mundane is badass.