The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A gold nugget of a movie – brought to me by my guests

with 22 comments

You don’t get rich blogging about movies. Or well, I reckon someone out there maybe does, but I don’t earn a penny on it since I don’t allow ads. But I get other bonuses. For instance I get suggestions from readers, based on my previous reviews, about other movies I should check out since they think I might like it.

Cube is by far the movie that has been suggested to me most times. I think it first was brought up in connection to my review of Buried as another example of an excellent movie with a very tight budget. Later on I wrote a love post about Splice and then I was once again told by readers to watch Cube, since it’s an earlier work by the same director, Vincenzo Natali, and according to some an even better movie.

I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the film blogging community I wouldn’t have heard of either the director or the film. And that would have been such a shame, because of course you were right. This was exactly the kind of movie I fall for.

A puzzle
And now we’re moving into the area where it gets tricky. I knew nothing about Cube apart from the name and that had been recommended to me. And I don’t want anyone else who hasn’t watched it to know much more. So how can I describe it without giving away too much?

Well, I think I can say as much as that it takes place in a cube. That’s given away in the title, isn’t it? One day a group of people wake up and find themselves inside this cube and the movie is about their search for a way out. I think that will do for the plot description.

It’s not just me keeping you in the dark; the film does a bit of the same thing. We don’t really know very much. All we can do is to guess and have theories, trying to solve the puzzle alongside with the party.

If you’d ask me to describe Cube, I’d say it’s a science fiction film with horror and thriller elements and a touch of drama and insight into the human psyche. Think of it as a crossover between Buried, Lost and No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. (In case you’re not familiar with No Exit, it’s a play about three persons who find themselves stuck together in a closed room with no way out, after a while coming to the conclusion mirrored in a famous quote: “Hell is other people”.)

Is it low budget? You bet. I don’t know about the exchange rates, but a production cost 365 000 dollars doesn’t sound like a lot to me. It was shot in twenty days on a single set, mostly with a handheld camera. But the simplicity doesn’t prevent it from being scary, engaging, thrilling, stimulating and entertaining.

You’re most likely to see more gushing from me over Vincenzo Natali’s work in the future since I still have a couple of more movies of his to catch up on.

Thank you for leading me to him. I owe you one.

Cube (Vincenzo Natali, CA, 1997) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

February 6, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Cube

22 Responses

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  1. Wonderful review of a great Canadian movie! I complain about Anglo-Canadian movies constantly, but when they’re good they’re really good. Natali is a true talent, and from what I know he’s also a really cool guy who lives only a few minutes drive from my house. Cube is awesome and I’m so glad you finally watched it.

    Corey Atad

    February 6, 2012 at 1:39 am

    • Thanks Corey! I’m afraid I’m not a collector of signatures, but otherwise I’d ask you to get one for me. 🙂
      I’m a fan!


      February 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

  2. It’s been years since I’ve seen it. Such a cool movie.

    Steven Flores

    February 6, 2012 at 1:42 am

  3. Great review. I was absolutely floored by this movie the first time I saw it.

    Dave Enkosky

    February 6, 2012 at 2:13 am

    • Thanks! I too was really enthusiastic. I had my 17 year old to watch it too with her friends, but she was only lukewarm to it afterwards and complained about the acting. Oh well, to each one his own.


      February 6, 2012 at 7:50 am

  4. Such a great film, and it’s my opinion that the sequels – for better or worse – make an enthralling trillogy. The original is still the best, though.


    February 6, 2012 at 2:14 am

    • I was surprised to find out there were sequels but people don’t seem to be all thrilled about them. But I think there are other films by this guy I’ve missed out. I want to see more of him, for sure.


      February 6, 2012 at 7:50 am

  5. Loved (and own on dvd) Cube. Not sure if you’re reviewed it yet but Primer is darn good too, with low budget and high quality outcome.


    February 6, 2012 at 2:56 am

  6. Cube is a far better movie than Splice. I see it as sort of the perfect existential film, one that really serves as a bizarre metaphor for life…provided your outlook on life is bleak.


    February 6, 2012 at 3:25 am

    • I can definitely see that metaphor working. As you know I liked Splice very much as well. I guess Cube is a more… elegant, tight idea, more distinct and therefor memorable. But Splice had a bit of crazy imagination that I liked too.


      February 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

  7. Sounds good… I am not sure I have heard of it, if i am honest. But I have now. thanks Jessica

    Scott Lawlor

    February 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

    • Next step is to watch it! It’s a fairly short movie that I think will keep you entertained.


      February 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

  8. Great little film, glad you were lead towards it! The first two Saw films also kind of reminded me of Cube. Obviously with slightly less brutal torture.


    February 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm

  9. I did recommend it a few times and I’m glad to read that you liked it! It’s one of those movies that’s that much better when you don’t know what you’re going to get yourself into. It’s indeed also a very low budget movie:
    “Only one cube, measuring 14 by 14 by 14 feet, was actually built, with only one working door that could actually support the weight of the actors. The colour of the room was changed by sliding panels.[3] Since this task was a time-consuming procedure, the movie was not shot in sequence; all shots taking place in rooms of a specific colour were shot one at a time. It was intended that there would be six different colours of rooms to match the recurring theme of six throughout the movie; five sets of gel panels plus pure white. However, the budget did not stretch to the sixth gel panel and so there are only five different room colours in the movie.”

    I’ve seen the directors Cypher which I liked better than Splice but not as much as Cube. Still, an overall good movie. There are also two Cube sequels which really are just more of the same.

    If you liked Cube, I can also recommend the Spanish movie Fermat’s Room. It’s a bit of a crossover between Cube and Saw without the gore. I liked it.


    February 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    • I just heard of Fermat’s movie from another source as I wrote about this one. It definitely sounds like something I should check out. I’m not super much into gore so it sounds ilke something that could suit me.


      February 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

  10. I saw Cube years ago but remember it as quite ingenious. Can’t say I was clear about the Splice connection though.


    February 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    • I think you can sense that it comes from the same mind with a certain kind of creepy, twisted imagination.


      February 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

  11. You and I have quite different takes on Cube, but one thing we agree on – it does remind one of minimalistic theatre plays. I invoke Samuel Beckett.

    But apart from that, well – we see the same things, but react differently to them:

    (My review in Swedish, though.)

    All the best,


    February 8, 2012 at 3:16 am

    • I loved your take on it and I notice that while you’re not as enthusiastic about it as I am, you still like it pretty much. I agree that this could have become even better. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending of it, though I don’t want to go into it here because it’s way to spolierific to do so.


      February 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm

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