One set, five actors, bad acting, even worse dialogue and a sadistic director. In one sentence that is what the movie Cube is about. Saying that the movie is innovative is only telling half the story.
Five strangers awaken to find themselves stuck in a cubic room. There are six hatches, one on each side, and these hatches lead to other cubic rooms. These rooms are either safe or they are booby-trapped to kill upon entering. Like a good episode of The X-Files, Cube starts off mysteriously and then with the original question it develops even more questions. And like the cube that these five are stuck in where every room leads to yet another one, every question leads to another. The audience is left to wonder why are the characters there? What is the reason behind the Cube? How did the characters end up in the Cube? The level of paranoia in the movie rises quickly. But, this all unravels as the film slows to a grind and becomes increasingly more and more boring.
The script is to blame. The film is innovative, I mean, how many films have you seen that have been shot completely on one set? And the idea behind the film is pretty ingenious. The script itself stinks. The characters are wholly unbelievable and the words that come out of their mouths are amateurish. To add to insult, the actors themselves are not up to par either. Maurice Dean Wint is terrible on screen, absolutely terrible. Wint plays a cop who takes lead of the group. Nicky Guadagni is just as bad as a “bleeding heart” liberal doctor. The others are OK, the best being David Hewlett as Worth, the man with a secret, but even these actors have nothing good to work with.
The director Vincenzo Natali has a great eye for detail, he is quite creative, and his visual style is wonderful. He sure can make the film look good, what he can’t do is wrangle good performances. And his creativity goes a bit overboard with some of the booby traps that are downright sadistic. Some made me cringe hard. Natali does a decent job of shooting the film and knows how to build tension within scenes. Once he learns how to coerce good performances from his actors I think he’ll be a decent director.
Should you rent Cube? Only if there’s nothing else to rent. The movie is OK, but I really don’t think it is worth watching if there is something else that you can spend 90 minutes with. Sure, the film is beautiful and innovative, but this all doesn’t mean anything if there are no real characters to bring you into the film.