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The Cell (DVD)
Member Name: revere
The Cell (DVD)
Advantages: intense, claustrophobic
Disadvantages: ultimately shallow
Lopez is a psychologist with a unique therapy: She uses high-tech to enter the minds of patients, into their dreamworlds, and help them repair from the inside out. This technique, it appears, is especially effective with comatose subjects for whom other therapies are useless. When a comatose serial killer (Vincent D'Onofrio,) is brought in, our heroine must discover the location of his last victim before time runs out...
Directed by Tarsem Singh, this is the most visually intense piece of cinema I've seen in some time. The dreamscapes take up most of the screen time, and the surreal nature and saturated colours make their mark. Combined with some grisly details (D'Onofrio has circular steel hoops piercing his back so that he can suspend himself from meathooks and feel weightless,) and a number of genuinely scary moments, the overall effect is to disorient and fatigue the viewer. If the plot is a little predictable, the claustrophobia and jaw-dropping visuals more than compensate. The most interesting murder mystery thriller in ages, substance gives way to style, but in a good way. The victims are locked in an underground glass-walled room and filmed as water fills up, drowning them over a period of days, just on eof many 'Cells' we encounter. As Lopez's character enters the mind of the maniac, we discover that it is a 'cell' since his body is paralysed and will never recover. Oooooh. Deep. Like one of those annoying IQ tests, there a probably more Cells in there. Post a comment if you find any.
That said, The Cell can feel like an overlong music video at points. Given Singh's background in this field, that's hardly surprising. Indeed, he's chosen the perfect story for his style; production design is lavish and Lopez gets to dress in amazing and inventive frocks (even if one outfit makes her look like Queen Amidalla From Hell.) He's given free reign inside people's heads, which makes for compelling action and nasty surprises. Don't relax. Ever. There's always another little boy with sharp teeth around the corner...
Stylish and scary, claustrophobic and dirty, this makes little attempt to be anything more than a vehicle for Lopez. The serial killing's the best since Se7en, and I'll reiterate my claim to being Vincent D'Onofrio's number one fan. Singh needs to back away from the MTV visuals, and what he has to say about the nature of mental illness is a tad iffy, but it'll be interesting to see what his next feature effort is like. As for Lopez: Please, just stick to acting. You name's not Jlo, and you are not a badass gangsta chick. Put some clothes on.
Summary: intense, claustrophobic