We turn the Cube and it twists us.
Cube (1997): 8 out of 10: Cube is a story of six or so people who wake up in a… well… cube. On each side of the cube (including above and below), there are doors that lead to other cubes. Some cubes have deadly traps. There are three etched three-digit numbers on each cube that may provide a clue whether a particular cube is deadly and may also provide a clue on how to escape. Can they figure a way out without getting killed before they succumb to starvation or thirst, or are simply driven mad?
The Good: I have a lot of pet peeves in movies. One of the biggest is films that explain everything to the audience as if we were dimwitted fourth graders. Cube explains nothing. I love this. We can decide which of the characters’ speculations are correct or even if any of them are correct. This creates a wonderfully engaging film.
The film is well written with some excellent character arcs. Some characters are a little on the trope side of the equation (I am looking your way Rain Man) but overall it is an engaging group. There is a nice argument between just moving forward one cube at a time and trying to figure out what it all means. The movie doesn’t take sides once again, allowing the viewer to decide which approach is best.
The special effects are good when they make an appearance and the set keeps one’s interest in the relatively brief running time.
The Bad: The movie plays its room trap cards early in a spectacular way. One wishes they had revisited that more throughout the film. The film also suffers a little from we ran out of cannon fodder too soon syndrome.
It isn’t that hard to figure out if a three-digit number is prime. If it is an even number, or it ends in a five, it isn’t prime as an example. Our so-called math expert in the group took way too long to figure some of these out.
In Conclusion: This is a great example of how to make a low budget film with only seven actors, one set, and an engaging, interesting script. That last part is a nut plenty of big-budget movies have yet to crack. Like the early Saw films, Cube is greater than the sum of its parts and a wonderful example of minimalism in a film.