starring Nicole deBoer, Nicky Guardagni, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Julian Richings, Ewayne Robson and Maurice Dean Wint
written by Andre Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali and Graeme Manson
directed by Vincenso Natali
Warning: if you feel like vomiting, or are otherwise confused and disoriented it might be because you have been watching the weird, post-modern Canadian film Cube. Or maybe you have been looking at modern British art. Either one can have that effect. Cube is the kind of movie that was destined to be made when the generation of children who were given Rubik’s Cube to play with grew up.
The lesson is that, to survive in the mad, mad, mad world we have created we must save ourselves from ourselves.
I never liked Rubik’s Cube because I could never do it. I guess when it came out I was already too old for my brain to grasp the mathematics of it, while younger children with more agile brains and dexterous fingers became prodigies with it.
Cubeis also very Kafkaesque in that it portrays what “Kafkaesque” has come to mean in the world today: the horror of utter meaninglessness, and the way ordinary people trapped in meaningless situations try to deal with it by applying old concepts of order that don’t’ work.
It’s a really good film. Seen people wake up in a strange place with no memory of how they got there. What is this place? There are many rooms, each a cube, or box, and each with six doors (six sides), each bearing a serial number. Do the numbers have meaning?
The prisoners discover each other, gather, and try to find meaning in their situation, and then formulate an escape plan. At first unknown to them, rooms whose doors bear serial numbers that are powers of prime numbers are booby-trapped. (If you like mathematics you will like this movie, form an engineering point of view if for no other reason.) The booby traps result in some exceedingly gruesome and neat death and mutilation scenes. The point is: the people are trapped. They cannot escape easily without risking horrible death. They have to think their way out. The lesson is that, to survive in the mad, mad, mad world we have created we must save ourselves from ourselves.
The trick is that the people are trapped inside a giant cube 136 meters square. The inside is composed of cube-shaped rooms, but the rooms are not flush with the external shell, so they cannot simply walk through the rooms until they reach the outside. There is a bridge to the outside that connects the outer shell with the inner cube, but it constantly moves, lie the sides of the Rubik’s Cube toy. To get out they must avoid the booby-traps and meet up with the bridge at just the right place and time. Otherwise they may die of starvation, or dehydration, and spend an eternity trapped in the structure.
Don’t bather asking who built the cube or why people are placed inside, or why these particular people are chosen. That’s not the point. The point is the insane arbitrariness of it all. The world has become a “headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan.” Very post-modern. And, when and if they do escape, what will they find on the outside? “Boundless human stupidity,” that’s what. It sounds like the neighborhood I live in.