Cube

on September 11, 1998 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   Not nearly as smart or original as it thinks it is, Cube takes the Hitchcockian Lifeboat concept (a bunch of people stranded in an enclosed place) and transplants it into a vaguely paranoid sci-fi setting. A diverse group, including a tough cop (Dean Wint), an embittered office worker (David Hewlett), a compassionate doctor (Nicky Guadagni) and a young math prodigy (Nicole deBoer) wake up trapped in a boxlike maze, consisting of various interlocking rooms, some of which contain lethal booby traps. Their attempts to navigate the cube force them, eventually, to fight each other even as they try to escape.
   Writer/director Natali doesn't actually tell us anything about the cube or even reveal what it really is. That's a cheat but the film's problems run deeper, from portentous dialogue to uniformly bad acting. From Harlan Ellison's classic short story "I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream" to George Lucas' "THX 1138," it's all been done before and better.    Starring Maurice Dean Wint, Nicky Guadagni and David Hewlett.Directed by Vincenzo Natali. Written by Andre Bejelic, Vincenzo Natali and Graeme Manson. Produced by Mehra Meh and Betty Orr. A Trimark release. Science fiction. Rated R for some strong sci-fi violence/gore and language. Running time: 91 min.
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