Movie Review: The Cube

Several years ago, my parents and I watched a movie called Cube. It’s a “psychological thriller/horror/science fiction movie” from 1997 about seven people trapped in a giant grid of cubes, 14ft in each direction, with hatches on each face (including top and bottom) that lead to identical cubes (though each cube is colored, some red, some green, some blue, some white). They’re trying to find their way to the edge of the grid so they can escape, but some of the cubes have traps that kill you.

For some reason when I first saw the movie it made a huge impression on me. I actually made a model cube out of K’NEX, with hatches and everything, that could connect to identical cubes (though I think I only made one… maybe I made two, I don’t remember).

Anyway, I saw it again recently, so I think I can now give a good account of what struck me about it when I first saw it. It was the basic premise. It’s a perfect example of the microcosms I find so fascinating. The world is made up of hundreds of connected cubes, some of which are trapped; there are people trapped inside the cube, who have to escape before they die of dehydration; this is the world. Sure, the characters were originally from the “real world”, they did have backstories, but those aren’t important; in fact, the characters’ discussions with each other are mostly about whether or not the characters’ backstories are meaningful, and the movie ends up arguing that they’re not.

Also interesting is the mathematical aspect of it. Without ruining the plot, numbers play a big role in the cube – each cube has an ID number, and they keep trying to find some sort of system based on them to know where they are in the cube and avoid the traps – but, if you know much math and pay attention to the numbers given, the math doesn’t make sense. I suspect this was intentional on the writer’s part, just trying to mess with our heads. I found this really interesting, though perhaps in the end inexplicable and without explanation.

The final reason I liked the movie was that one of the seven characters, named Kazan, was an autistic man – not just Asperger’s or something, but severely autistic. He was also the only sympathetic character in the movie, in my opinion. And his reaction to being in the Cube is fascinating. My favorite quotation from the movie is: “This room is… green. I want to go back to the blue room.”

Now, given what I’ve just said about why I like it… is it really worth seeing? Well, yes, as long as you’re not expecting anything beyond what I’ve explained above. The acting and writing aren’t that good, the characters except for Kazan are rather dislikeable, and the special effects suck; but the movie’s only an hour and a half long, it has an interesting premise, and I would say, yes, it’s worth seeing. It’s certainly enjoyable. So watch it. If you don’t mind illegally downloading things you can probably find a torrent of it fairly easily. Otherwise, I dunno, find it on Amazon or something… though I’m not sure it’s worth paying $14 to buy a copy.

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