See This: Cube

Julian Richings in Cube
Julian Richings in Cube




Having worked as a storyboard artist on animated series such as Babar and Tintin, Vincenzo Natali was probably not top of the list to make his directorial debut with a sci-fi cult classic. But that’s what he did with Cube, a clean pure piece of sci-fi that could almost be said to have created a genre, the Aseptic White Room Thriller. See Duncan Jones’s Moon, for another classic of the genre. Cube riffs on Jean Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos, throwing a jailbird, a maths genius, a cop, a doc, a cynic and an autistic guy together inside a hi-tech, homicidal, claustrophobic cube comprising interlocking sliding parts – think Jenga with anger issues. None of this motley gang knows how they got there, where they are, or how they’re going to get out. But what seems to become increasingly apparent is that they either hang together, or hang separately. It’s an elegant set-up and no amount of slack acting, diabolical script or one-ply characterisation can knock this simple but ingenious film off course. “Hell is other people” is Sartre’s most quoted line from Huis Clos (usually translated as No Exit). Natali points out that other people are the route to salvation too.

© Steve Morrissey 2013


Cube – at Amazon




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Cube (1997) Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 90min | 25 September 1998 (UK) 7.2
Director: Vincenzo NataliWriter: André Bijelic, Vincenzo NataliStars: Nicole de Boer, Maurice Dean Wint, David HewlettSummary: Six different people, each from a very different walk of life, awaken to find themselves inside a giant cube with thousands of possible rooms. Each has a skill that becomes clear when they must band together to get out: a cop, a math whiz, a building designer, a doctor, an escape master, and a disabled man. Each plays a part in their thrilling quest to find answers as to why they've been imprisoned. Written by <>


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