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The Cell (DVD)
Member Name: RLN
The Cell (DVD)
Date: 08/11/00, updated on 08/11/00 (13 review reads)
Advantages: Great visuals
Disadvantages: Cliched storyline
The Cell is a film that's beautiful to look at, but hollow inside. It's like the director thought of all these cool, surreal images and tried to construct a storyline around them. The problem is that while the imagery is original and stylish, the plot is not, and it's disconcerting to find such a hackneyed serial killer story within a film that's so unusual visually.
Jennifer Lopez, in a role that requires her to do little more than looked a) concerned and b) good in a variety of costumes (including a nifty red rubber number), plays a child therapist hired to take part in a process that allows her to enter the minds of coma patients. The film is clever in that it doesn't require us to believe Lopez designed the machine, and that it doesn't waste time getting the non-scientists to express incredulity that such a machine exists. This is just a world where such a thing can happen.
While Lopez is trying to persuade a young boy to come out of his coma, serial killer Vincent D'Onofrio is catching another victim and installing her in his eight-foot high version of a goldfish bowl. The tank automatically fills up with water over a period of time, but D'Onofrio's character doesn't like to be there when it happens, preferring to video it instead to watch at his leisure. However he ends up in a coma just as the FBI bash his door down, and they're left with no way of knowing where is victim is being held, only that she has about 24 hours before the water starts pouring into the tank. Which is of course where Lopez comes in.
The serial killer's mind is a dark, twisted place, and not for faint-hearted cinema goers. It's not jump-out-of-your-seat scary, more disturbing, as bizarre things happen to horses (!), Lopez is attacked by female bodybuilders (!!) and FBI agent Vince Vaughn's intestines have a close encounter with a spit. If you like the artwork of Hieronymus Bosch, H.R. Giger and even maybe
Escher it's worth seeing the film as an example of something similar, but if you going to see it 'cos you're a fan of Silence of the Lambs and fancy another tense serial killer flick, don't bother.