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RELEASED: 2000, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 107 mins
DIRECTOR: Tarsem Singh
PRODUCERS: Julio Caro & Eric McLeod
SCREENPLAY: Mark Protosevich
MUSIC: Howard Shore
Jennifer Lopez as Catherine
Vince Vaughn as Special Agent Peter Novak
Jake Weber as Special Agent Gordon Ramsey
Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Dr. Miriam Kent
Vincent D'Onofrio as Carl
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Catherine is a child psychologist who becomes involved in a virtual reality system which makes it so that she can go inside of the minds of patients and through sharing their subconscious world and communicating with them, attempts to lure them back into the land of the living.
Carl, a serial killer, falls into a coma when arrested by police and Special Agent Peter Novak calls upon Catherine's services as it is suspected that Carl's latest victim is still alive, but can't be found. It is hoped that if Catherine enters and shares Carl's coma state, the location of the victim can be discovered before she dies.
The Cell is initially quite a difficult film to get into, because the first twenty or so minutes jump about and it isn't obvious what is happening. Also, a lot of special effects are used that serve to confuse the issue even more. During this lengthy pace-setter, I almost decided to call it a day, but continued watching just in case something lucid and interesting happened.
As The Cell unfolded, I gradually began to have a glimmer of understanding of what was going on. However, I wasn't at all impressed with any of the acting, particularly that from Vincent D'Onofrio as deranged serial killer Carl. I also was disappointed with Marianne Jean-Baptiste's performance.....as an actress, she is capable of much better than what she delivers in this film.
Together with some very shoddy acting, much of the dialogue is wooden, leaving a lot to be desired.
The Cell makes use of special effects almost to overdrive levels, and there is a distinct attempt at surrealism. Some of this works and some doesn't, but a fair proportion of these special effects is imaginative and rather stunning. However, after a while as they go into overdrive, they become a bit boring despite their lavish content which is somewhat 'Dali-esque' in parts.
This is one of those films which takes so long to get going, that the boredom levels set in far too soon and it requires some fortitude to stay with the proceedings in order to discover if as a whole, it is worth watching. Sometimes the musical score of an otherwise potentially boring film can hold my attention, but in this case it didn't do it for me as I found it largely unnoticeable - hence, I had to rely on my staying power to hang on in there.
In order to enjoy The Cell, the viewer must have a fascination with and an appreciation of dreamlike states, bizarre happenings in a surreal environment and being a fan of sci-fi helps. I wouldn't say that this is a sci-fi film per se, as it is more of a psychological drama, but put across in a different and unusual way.
One thing which really struck me about the atmosphere throughout The Cell was the mood of complete and utter coldness. The characters aren't developed well at all, communicating with one another in a superficial way which doesn't assist in the viewer in feeling connected to the film. The way the story is conveyed I suppose is original, but it doesn't have anywhere near enough of the 'grab' factor and the levels of tension and suspense are virtually nil.
What The Cell almost solely relies upon is the special effects, many of which are lavishly unusual. However, the way some of them come across can be hard on the eyes, as there is a lot of not unsteady, but active camera-work where certain scenes will swish and pan around at great speed....this perhaps could cause problems for anyone suffering from epilepsy. At various points whilst trying to focus on the screen, it almost felt as though my head was falling off, it being very difficult to keep my eyes up with the visual shenanigans.
The Cell also contains some quite disturbing images, but I did find one or two of them borderline laughable, even though for the most part they are well created.
Overall, The Cell is a stark, cold, passionless film with woodenly empty characters. The acting leaves much to be desired and although entertaining in parts, I'm not sure that the whole thing is worth gritting ones teeth through the first very tedious twenty or so minutes. Although the similarity between the two films is nil, the root storyline of the serial killer element is too close to Silence Of The Lambs (police trying to get to a serial killer's victim before she dies) - but, Hannibal Lecter is much more convincing than Carl.
Throughout The Cell, I was oscillating between a mild degree of fascination for some of the special effects and varying levels of boredom which almost made me switch off, as overall this is a weak storyline that largely is poorly presented and very poorly acted.
Would I recommend The Cell? Probably not, unless you are somebody who is fascinated with an overdose of surrealism, some of which is brilliant and some of which is rather tawdry and cheap. As far as the psychological thriller element is concerned, The Cell is a big no-no as even the mediocre offerings out there in this genre are far more rewarding to watch.
In summary, The Cell only held me on by a thread and I don't think it is worth a second viewing....also, I reiterate my above warning to anybody suffering from epilepsy who may have problems with the way the camera speedily pans from one scene to another.
At the time of writing, The Cell can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.47 to £15.99
Used: from 1p to £7.73
Collectible: only one copy currently available @ £5.99 (appears to be used)
Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Format: Region 2 - 1 disc DVD
Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Vincent D'Onofrio, Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn
Certificate rating: 18
Tagline: Enter the mind of a killer.
Description from the back of the box: An intensely visual and surreal journey into the depths of a serial killer's mind, The Cell is a riveting science fiction thriller that will shock you with the horrors of one man's frayed mind.
I first watched The Cell a number of years ago when I was going through a phase of watching "mind-fuck" films. It crosses genres with a mix of horror, science fiction and crime thriller themes all fighting for supremacy. My first impression was that I found it intriguing but the combination of different styles didn't quite work for me, and the FBI thriller segments spoiled the rest of the mood that was built by the more impressive horror and sci-fi sequences so I was left feeling bored and short-changed at the end of it. I had an urge to watch it again recently and decided to buy the DVD as it was available very cheaply on Amazon's marketplace. I've watched it a further two times over the past week, and I can definitely say that re-watching The Cell has helped me to gain a better appreciation of the work involved and has made me reconsider my initial impressions.
The film begins by introducing us to the latest experimental technology that can link two people together, allowing one to enter the mind of another. Catherine is a social worker who has been employed to use this technology to help connect with the mind of a young boy in a coma. The plot then branches off to introduce us to Carl Stargher, a ritualistic serial killer who has devised a method of murdering his victims with the aid of a small sealed cell that is run on a fully automated system. The FBI catch up with Stargher and find him in a comatose state, leaving Catherine to try and save the day by entering his mind and learning the location of the cell where his latest victim is being held.
I must say that I loved the concept of this film. I am a long-time fan of horror and science fiction, and I love it when the two merge well. I also like a good serial killer so I should have been in for a treat here. The thing about serial killer films is that the curious mind of the viewer wants to be able to understand the reasoning behind their methodology, and it's interesting to literally delve straight into the psychological side of the killings by entering the killer's mind. Carl Stargher, played by Vincent D'Onofrio, easily gives the best performance here by being able to convincingly portray so many different aspects of his character's schizophrenic personality. I was less than impressed by Catherine Deane, played by Jennifer Lopez. She does not seem to portray the strong female lead role that I wanted her to, and she comes across as being a bit weak and is easily led by her emotions. I also found her voice really irritating to listen to, as it is all light and whispery, so there is no real impact to what she's saying and it comes across as being a bit fake and put on. The other let down is in the performance of FBI agent Peter Novak, played by Vince Vaughn. His cold dead eyes displayed no real sense of character, and I felt less empathy towards him than I did for the serial killer, who of course I should really be siding against! I felt like this part of the story where the FBI / crime thriller aspects came into play were rather mediocre and there were many predictable plot elements that diluted the high level concept that was brought to the film in other areas.
The main thing that stands out in this film is the incredible vision of the director to create a film that is artistic and simply beautiful to watch. The inner-mind sequences are stunning and the way they are depicted is like nothing I've ever seen before. I tried to describe the visual styling to a friend who hasn't seen The Cell, and the best I could come up with was: "it's like The Neverending Story took a trip to Silent Hill.", which I actually think is a pretty reasonable description! It alternates between, and combines, ethereal fantasy with darkly disturbing images. This is presented in the sets, which play with scale to give a distorted, alienating feel when Catherine enters the other characters' minds. There is a real contrast between the "safe" mind journeys, and the "dangerous" ones, when Catherine is interacting with either Edward or Carl. Colour and lighting are used to great effect to promote an instant emotive response. When I see Catherine plunged into the dark underworld of Stargher's mind, my own imagination feeds upon the visual presentation and makes me start to feel on edge in anticipation of what these dark places will reveal. The atmosphere is perfectly attuned to give that horror feel, and there are some scary moments. I don't have a very strong stomach when it comes to gore, and there are a total of three moments during the film when I have to turn away from the screen and stop watching as they are quite intense and make me feel uncomfortable. Compared to some of the "torture porn" films that have emerged into the mainstream recently, this may seem quite tame, but personally I think that the mood of the scenes as well as the convincing special effects achieved a strong reaction in me.
It's interesting to note that director Tarsem Singh was previously in the field of advertising, followed by music videos. The Cell is his first feature film, and you can see where music video styling has come into this film and he also pays homage to a number of different artists; in particular there is one memorable scene that takes inspiration from the works of British artist Damien Hirst. Singh seems to have had a close relationship with the extraordinarily talented designer Eiko Ishioka who has produced all of the stunningly creative and luxurious costumes for not only this film, but all of Singh's subsequent feature films up until her death this year. This woman's work is awe-inspiring and really helps to accentuate the fantasy feeling of the inner-mind scenes. The costuming follows a mainly exaggerated gothic aesthetic which I love, and the attention to detail is exquisite. My favourite pieces are Stargher's capes and Catherine's neck corset as they are just so dramatic and powerful looking.
Despite the grandiose and opulent visual effects, the film is spoiled somewhat by poor audio quality. There are a few places where the dialogue is spoken in a way that makes it hard to interpret what is actually being said and I kept missing little snippets particularly throughout the inner-mind sequences. The last time I watched the DVD I played it with the English subtitles displayed, and I was surprised to find that there were whole sentences that had dropped out of the audio content. There were some poorly recorded or stylised pieces of dialogue that were impossible to understand until I saw the words written on the screen, and I felt like this added a greater meaning to some of the parts which I had either not fully understood, or just missed out completely.
The cover of the DVD boasts that it includes 57 minutes of additional footage. There is a variety to the features provided, but I found the majority to be of little interest. The Vignettes were the real highlight and this is exactly the sort of feature I wanted to see to gain more of an insight to the production of these striking sequences.
+ Director's commentary. Honestly, I never watch these and this is no exception.
+ Isolated score. This is a bit of an odd one, I'm not sure why you would want to sit and watch this, but I guess if you're a keen fan of movie soundtracks then you may find it interesting.
+ Deleted scenes. A selection of 8 deleted scenes. Slightly annoying that there was no "play all" option so I had to select to view each one individually. You can watch with or without an accompanying commentary from the director. The sound is very patchy indeed, so it is difficult to get anything out of these scenes without selecting the commentary. That said, I thought that none of these scenes were necessary as they just seemed drawn out and of no consequence to the storytelling in the film.
+ Behind the Scenes. -Style as substance: reflections on Tarsem. ~12 minutes of the cast and crew all talking about how great they think everyone is. Yawn.
-Visual effects vignettes. Now that's more like it! 6 scenes are taken step by step and given a walkthrough commentary on filming and special effects techniques used. You can view each one in several different ways, and can also change the angle by using the buttons on your remote control. I didn't watch a couple of them, as they included two of my gore-cringe moments, but it was great to see how some of my favourite sequences were put together.
+ Theatrical trailers. Here you can watch two trailers for The Cell, including the full theatrical trailer and an international teaser trailer. They depict a good range of scenes from various points throughout the movie and there is a real build up of tension that would certainly whet your appetite for viewing the full feature. The teaser is very fast paced and doesn't feature any sound bites of dialogue like the full trailer does, so it is not quite as easy to follow.
+ Filmographies. Shows listings of previous works that various cast and crew members have been involved with. This was a pretty dull feature and not really necessary; I'd much rather go over to imdb.com for this sort of information.
+ Interactivities. -Empathy test. Picking up on one of the main themes of the film, this odd but intriguing little feature allows you to take an empathy test and will provide you with a conclusion based on the answers you provide to some open-ended questions about attitudes and opinions.
-Brain map and Brain facts. A text-heavy feature that attempts to teach viewers about the workings of the brain.
It took me a few viewings to really appreciate and enjoy the content of this film. It has some excellent foundations and is built into a completely unique visual experience with superbly detailed sets and costumes. Personally, I would have preferred a bit of a deeper insight into the science fiction side of things, with a greater explanation of the technology and its functionality. It's strange in a way as this is a brave film taking big risks that draw it well away from what you'd expect from a mainstream Hollywood film starring Jennifer Lopez, but on the other hand, there are some heavily clichéd parts to the plot and the sub-par acting and dialogue means that it doesn't really reach its full potential. I absolutely adore the inner-mind scenes and these completely stand out in quality and beauty against any other film that I've ever watched. I'm so glad that I persevered and decided to watch it again. I am now keen to seek out some of Singh's other films and see how his work has developed since The Cell. I would definitely recommend adding this DVD to your collection.
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.
This movie was beyond wierd, which made it beyond scary. I had no idea what to expect when I first watched this movie. This was the weirdest movie I have ever seen. It scared the crap out of me! It was pretty good though and if you like crazy weird scary movies you will probably like this one. It was a little too scary for me however, so I probably won't be watching it again.
The story is about childrens' psychiatrist Catherine Dean, played wonderfully by Jennifer Lopez, who is working on developing a technique to reach catatonic patients by traveling into their minds. She has had some very promising results from the process that she has developed with some of her child patients.
When serial killer Stargher, played by Vincent D'Onofrio, is captured the FBI agent Peter Novak, played by Vince Vaughn, Peter seeks Catherine out because it turns out that Stargher is in a coma. Peter needs Catherine to infiltrate the serial killer's mind with her innovative method in hopes of finding Stargher's latest victim who has the possibility of still being alive.
Catherine is not happy about this idea, but she gives in because she is being asked by the FBI. However, when Catherine enters the bizarre and wildly crazy mind of Stargher after all of the crazy twists and turns she is taken on she begins to find it very difficult to find a way back out.
This movie as said before is beyond weird, but very intriguing. There is no way of knowing what is going to happen next. It will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Very scary stuff.
Tarsem Singh (or just Tarsem as he prefers to be known) is not, I suspect, a very likable chap. In interviews, he comes across as obnoxious, chauvinistic and pretentious, and there is little in his work that contradicts these impressions. Be that as it may, said work never fails to enchant me.
The Cell, Singh's debut feature-film following a widely-lauded career in music videos and advertising, is astonishing on several levels. Granted, none of those levels are anywhere near the level upon which the Plot is situated, but so intoxicating is most everything else that one scarcely has the wits to notice.
That plot - a flimsily-strung mesh of cliché and genre conventions - concerns the efforts of psychotherapist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) to - quite literally - get inside the mind of captured serial killer Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio) by way of an elaborate machine of some kind that transports one into the dreamscapes of another. To this end, she is assisted some by Stargher's captor, FBI agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn), himself harbouring a fair few demons also.
It is whilst wandering those dreamscapes that The Cell astounds. The work of Scandinavian artist Odd Nerdstrum is plundered throughout, and the resultant imagery is by turns beautiful, horrifying and disturbing, but always unforgettable.
A few hands were wrung over the head of the film's allegedly blasphemous content at the time of its release - a charge mostly centred around a stunning sequence in which Deane adopts the dress and manner of an image of the Virgin Mary - but more likely to upset are the seriously distressing sequences in which Stargher pleasures himself over a corpse whilst suspended on hooks, or the moments of horrific abuse in which he himself is set upon by his father.
There is an air of gratuity about it all, but it is undeniably powerful stuff.
There are flaws, most of them narratological, some of them regarding the Woman = Virgin / Whore business (Lopez didn't HAVE to wear that Mary outfit, we'd still have gotten the idea), some of them down to clumsy writing, but so unique does it seem (obvious lifts from art and literature notwithstanding), so successful is its melding of Lynch and Jodorowsky (both of whom have also been guilty of rampant misogyny in their careers - although, in the latter's case, it has since been acknowledged, if not exactly apologised for), so striking are its visuals, that it scarcely matters.
Not a masterpiece, but certainly a challenging, brave, bold piece of filmmaking well worth giving a couple hours to.
The story of The Cell is not exactly something that is really groundbreaking. In fact, it is basically the same as the story in The Silence of the Lambs. You have a killer in custody and these people have to enter his mind to find a female victim who is currently in danger of losing her life. The only real difference between the foundation of the plots is that in The Silence of the Lambs, you have to enter the mind of a killer to find a different killer as well as his current victim, while in The Cell, you have to enter the mind of a killer to find his own victim. However, despite the unfortunately weak story, The Cell completely revolutionizes the genre of the psychological thriller. None that have ever been made even come close to it.
Also, the film had good direction and was extremely well acted. Vince Vaughn delivers another of his characteristically excellent performances (he was even good as Norman Bates in the pathetic 1998 re-make of Psycho), and even Jennifer Lopez puts forth the second good effort of her career (the other being the great Out of Sight). Nothing can be said of the cinematography in The Cell to give it sufficient credit, it was imaginative and fascinatingly done and is unparalleled by anything ever seen in cinematic history. The Cell is an incredibly well-made film, and it deserves to be recognized.
I finally managed to see this film after wondering about it for years. When Catherine's work as a psychotherapist doesn't go quite to plan with a comatosed child, she is assigned to a serial killer who locks his victims in a cell that fills up with water. However, the twist with this killer is that he likes to attach himself onto hooks in some masterbatory ritual to celebrate the murder of his vicitims, which has resulted in him slipping into a coma. His latest victim's plight is played out on a set of screen's that the FBI have access to, however it doesn't give any insight into the location of the girl. So its up to Catherine to slip into his mind, using a scientific method that allows her to meet with him inside his subconscious. What Catherine doesn't reckon upon is the extent of his sexual depravity or his weird fetishes. What she also doesn't reckon upon is that his mind starts to affect hers, and soon she might well not know whats truthful and whats not.
There's a touch of the Silence Of The Lambs about this vehicle, with the protaganist attempting to associate with the serial killer through psychology. However, whereas the Silence Of The Lambs was an exercise in psychological terror, this is merely a case of style over substance. Stylistically, the film is imaginative and groundbreaking. Tarsem Singh's only prior claim to fame was the direction of a music video of REM's, so it really is new territory for him. However, what he crafts is a stunning film full of colour and unusual imagery. Visually, its the perfect film. However, where it falters is in the story, which is sometimes hard to follow and often hard to believe.
The motives of the killer are well explained, and it makes for a believable summary of a killer's mind. Its not the most enjoyable viewing, but who says that the mind of a killer would be an enjoyable viewing anyway. Singh gets it right in so many places, so its hard to work out where it exactly goes wrong. Perhaps its in the gratuitious violence that is hammered out at close quarters without much reason or any relent. Or perhaps its in the sexual imagery that verges on the stomach churning. Or perhaps its that the film itself dwindles off to the nearly incomprehensible, if you've managed to keep the stomache long enough to watch it. I just about did.
Jennifer Lopez initially carved out quite a name for herself back at the beginning of her big screen career, but various tabloid antics and a singing career have saw to it that much of her credibility went down the pan. A shame really, because she's actually quite a decent actress. The fact that she is absolutely beautiful wont go against her either. As psychologist Catherine, she is fairly adept, but her character is drawn into just too many coincidences to actually enjoy her performance. Vince Vaughan also turns in a decent and watchable performance, although for me the most notable thing about it was how much thinner he was back then.
The film really belongs to Law & Order's Vincent D'Onofrio. He absolutely encapsulates what his character is about. Although he doesn't get much to do for much of the film, being comatosed in many earlier sequences, he is believable as a psychotic killer with a ruthless agenda. That his character could have been less violent and more explained is perhaps just a misjudgement on the part of the inexperienced director.
In the end The Cell accumulates to nothing more than a pretty film with a not so pretty plot. A missed opportunity, methinks.
sickly disturbing - Advantages: realise best off not watching a j-lo film. - Disadvantages: very violent with far too much attention to detail., acting is well below par, plot is appalling.scences of torture far too graphic and powerful
Ok I understand how this works better now (thanks for the comments) my review as all passion and no substance.bad Loki The Cell tells the story of a beautiful psychotherapist who via some fancy neurological interface equipment links her conscious to her patient?s sub-conscious or dream state and thus treats their trauma directly. This method is not without some risk as the threats offered by the patient sub-conscious can be very real! The plot revolves about a serial killer who abducts his victims and imprisons them in a sealed chamber that after some time will fill with water and drown the unfortunate target. The Police catch the killer but in the course of his capture he is wounded and is left comatose, they then urgently need to find his last victim who they know only has a short time to live but of course he is not talking. As a last resort our lovely Psychotherapist must risk all by entering the mind of this evil murderer. The real problem here is that the director tries to use quite pretentious visuals to show what a murderers sub-conscious looks like but all this ends up doing is making everything look like a confused pop or rock video. For a while they interesting to look at but they are not enough to carry a rather thin story and you swiftly get irritated by them. The scripting is also bare and unbelievable and the attractive leads (Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn) seem uncomfortable and as confused as the poor viewer. So in conclusion director Tarsem Singh fails to deliver a film to live up to the interesting premise. If you want a dark thriller seek out anything by director David Fincher and you will not be as disappointed as you will be by The Cell
Cathrine (Jennifer Lopez) is a child psychotherapist involved in a new experiment that allows coma victims to travel into her mind and vice versa. However the experiment isn't going well and people are getting impatient. Meanwhile a serial killer is on the loose. Carl (Vincent D'Onofrio) captures a girl and leaves her in a glass cell for 40 hours and films them. During the 40 hours the cell slowly fills with water eventually drowning the helpless victim. Carl then bleaches them dresses them up like a girl. He then dumps the body. Hot on his trail is Peter Vince Vaughn) lucky for him Carl is getting sloopy and they eventually catch up with him at his home. However Carl is scizophrencic after a scizophrenic seizure he goes into a coma. Now Catherine has to go into his mind to find out where his next victim is before she drowns to. However the mind of a seriously twisted serial killer is not the best place to be. This is a very weird movie. From the outset we get a taste of the stunning imagery that is to follow in the film. This film has intestines being pulled out, bleached dead women made into dolls, a horse cut up into bits and a insight into a very weird mind. Some viewers may find this film a little sick because of the graphic nature of the things in Carl's mind. Carl himself is a convicingly scary and twisted, at one point he suspends himself over his victims body from hooks in his back. What is good about this film is that we get a real insight into his character. We see hsi gentle and vunerable side, represented by a small boy and his dangerous side which we see parading around in bizarre costumes and make up. However we do not learn much about the other characters and the ending is just a little too weird. However this is an amazing film that I would recommend.
I walked out of that movie thinking what sort of world can create people who make movies like that - Advantages: Costuming/SFX, J-Lo - Disadvantages: Gratuitous violence, horrible dialogue, meticulous attention to detail in areas where is certainly wasn't needed & lack of detail in the areas where it was needed
I am still not a film critic. Why I chose to watch this ------------------------- Having recently entered the world of DVD buying and selling I was curious to delve into the history of Jennifer Lopez's acting. I did realise that she had acted before as I'd seen her in "Jack" and "The Wedding Planner". In these two films I thought she was pretty good and enjoyable to watch. OK, enjoyable might be too... err... light a word? Anyway, checking the Internet Movie DatBase (www.imdb.com) I found another film that I could watch (and pick up cheap). So I bought "The Cell". The Cell describes itself on the back of the box as Catherine Deane (Lopez)... "...takes a terrifying journey into the mind of a killer in this chilling, critically acclaimed psychological thriller." Takes my fancy already. I quite like thrillers and crime related movies. Let's see how it goes. DVD Trailer (The short) ----------------------- The trailer depicts scenes which are visually impressive. We get flashes of what Catherine actually does, which is to enter the minds of others using some futuristic technology, which may well be feasible in the future. She sees thoughts painted as images as she enters the worlds of others. On another plane, we get to see that there is a killer at large who has a bizarre means of killing the young women he kidnaps. He puts them in an enclosed space, and then drowns them after 40 hours. There's one girl missing, and the race is on to find her and/or the killer. He's found but is unconscious, and so you can easily see where the story line is going. Catherine has to enter his mind and find out where she is. The film (The Long-ish) ----------------------- The trailer had me, I'm now looking forward to seeing the film itself now. Catherine's character is established well. The film starts not in reality, but in a child's mind.
One that is in a coma and is trying to be coaxed out of it, well his mind anyway. We then flick between this world and reality. The parallel story is set up quite nicely too, you never feel lost as the whole thing is quite gentle paced and easy to follow. Following the eyes of the FBI, we find that the killer, Carl Stargher, introduced in the trailer is actually much darker than we first though. Viewer of a nervous disposition need not apply. The killer, played by Vincent D'Onofrio) dresses up his victims to look like dolls through what is believed to be an even more bizarre routine than putting them in a box and drowning them, as seen in the trailer. It's a race against time to find that missing victim as God only knows where she is... and Carl. Catherine is pressured to enter the deep dark mind of Carl, only to discover that his inner mind is not as easy to access as might seem. It's quite the opposite and interesting as we see what is could be going on in the mind of serial killers. She enters his mind, but can she find out where he's hidden the victim, and how quickly? Not exactly nail biting. The film is somewhat slow and not exactly injected with action, so don't expect it. The story is teased out as time goes on. I found the first hour or so of this film the most draining to be honest. This might be because it was also quite predictable, but not un-enjoyable to say the least. The images use once within others' mind are quite powerful, and make use of special effects well. The Actors ---------- - Jennifer Lopez stars as Catherine Deane - Who does quite well, but somehow I still see her as Miss Marquez from "Jack". Maybe it's the accent. - Vince Vaughn as Peter Novak - Couldn't possibly comment. I think I was too relaxed to notice really. - Vincent D'Onofrio as Carl Stargher - You et glimpses of the dark character he plays, especially if you can relate to his
role in Men in Black. You know, the Alien guy? Didn't dawn on me at first until I saw his filmography. Overall Impression? ------------------- The Cell is a pretty bizarre film. It's dark but has an element of science fiction, enough to remind me of The Matrix, because of the whole... what is real, what is your imagination... concept. I wouldn't watch this again too quickly, but might do if someone wants to watch it quite happily. Although it may not be a copy of the DVD that I'll be keeping on my shelf for too long. There may well be people who want to watch this again, and I couldn't disagree. Anyone want a copy of The Cell? Region 1 before you ask. Thanks for reading.
Alright as a set designer I have say this movie rules! I only wish I had been able to work on this one. The sets although primarily digital were absolutely stunning. The costuming was incredible. The atmosphere created was so rich you almost cut it in front of you. Breifly if you have never seen the flick it is about a psychologist of sorts who uses a new device to actually enter someone's mind in a dream state to communicate more or less with thier subconscious, ego , id, etc. Well very quickly the psychologist played poorly by Jennifer Lopez...( now called J-Lo ) has to help the police find a abducted female who will surely die if J-Lo can not enter the mind of the killer who is in a coma and find out where she ( the abducted girl ) is being held. It goes without saying that the sets I am raving about are in the dream states. The "real" world is fairly banal as the real world often is. The plot on this had potential but poor acting and script writing make it a bad choice if you are looking for something beyond the awesome sets and costuming. Vince Vaughn also stars opposite J-Lo as the "cop" with his own grudge, but he gives a fairly poor performance as well. He might as well have been reading que cards. He should stick to roles with heavy drinking. As far as painting a picture of a twisted serial killer, they do an OK job. But it becomes a bit unrealistic to think that the killer is as disadvantaged as they show yet have some pretty cool resources to pull off alot of what he does. In short I highly reccommend this flick for the imagery. I will also warn you however that the imagery can be disturbing if you are the disney film type of person. Although I know some of the boys at disney and they put alot of obscene scenes in those movies you just have to slow down the film to see the images. It is like their own little sick joke. In the Cell, the only joke is that the style of the film is its substance.
I would agree with a former Opinion. Turn down the volume and just watch the film, preferable in the dark with a very large television.
I heard so many negative comments about "The Cell" that I stayed well away at the cinema, and on rental. I only rented if because my local store didn't have much else I hadn't seen already... All the critics said "visual style and nothing else"..also "pretty sick". They were right about the sickness, this film has a mean, evil streak all the way through. The serial killer is a real f***ed up geezer, he gets his kicks by drowning young women and then masturbating whilst hung above them, suspended from hooks in his back. And he bleaches them first to get the right effect. The footage of drowning women is really disturbing, I am really surprised it got past the censors. It does give you an insight into madness, and the mind of a twisted killer. It turns out that the killer was beaten, abused and nearly drowned by his father, hence his fascination with drowning people. Jennifer Lopez has been a real "bubblegum" character in most of her films, and I didn't think much of her as an actress. This film made me change my mind, as it is very serious, horrific and emotional, and she carries her part well. J-Lo is a special researcher / shrink who is using a new mind machine to help a small boy trapped in a coma. After the boy's parents demand she stops treating him, as they don't see any results, she is plugged into the serial killer, who is found face down in a pool of blood (heart attack?). Most of the film consists of her entering his mind to try and find out where his latest victim is located before she drowns... ..the killer uses a mechanical shower cubicle / dungeon which is water-tight and treats it's victim to a wake up shower every few hours. The timing of the shower changes, so that the women don't know if the water wil stop or keep flowing. Eventually the floodgates open and they drown. The latest victim needs to be found before she drowns... ...so J-Lo g
oes into his mind, and it gets very weird. I'm a big fan of Clive Barker, Hellraiser, Undying, Shadowman, all those weird graphic novels, so I understood the amazing visuals and what was going on in his mind. The visuals are stunning, and a great depiction of madness. The killer is represented in two forms, as an adult and an innocent little boy. She tries to get the boy to confess, but he is scared and runs away all the time...I won't so any more otherwise I'll ruin the plot. When the film finished I thought "wow" but understood it wouldn't appeal to everyone as it is pretty weird. The serial killer is really sick, my girlfriend left the room straight away! If you liked Seven and those kinds of films then check out The Cell.
The Cell, is a strange, surreal film. The possibilties to the film they could of made are endless, the actors they could of chosen again endless. If you are looking for a film which shows Jenifer Lopez looking good this is definitely for you. The story is sick and there is no other way to describe it. The story consists of a serial murderer who is caught, but is in a coma. the catch is he has a victim trapped somewhere and the police have to locate the victim before time runs out and she dies. To do this they enlist the help of a psycholgist (Jenifer Lopez) to connect directly to the serial killers mind the rest you should watch. The film I would compare to the silence of the lambs, however the acting is very shallow and the actors are neither strong enough or convincing enough to carry it off. The plot is carried by sick twists all the way through. Saying this the camera work in it is fantastic. What els is there to say JEnifer Lopez is stylish as usual and as usuak her acting leaves lot to be desired, for me I think she is 30 years too late she would have been ideal in a 70s cult film. I did find the film watchable but not one that sticks in your mind more of a 'oh was that the end' film.
Schizoid serial killer Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio) has been captured at last, but a neurological seizure has rendered him comatose, and FBI agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughan) has no way to determine the location of Stargher's latest and still-living victim. To probe the secrets contained in Stargher's traumatised psyche, the FBI recruits psychologist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez), who has mastered a new technology that allows her to enter the mind of another person. What she finds in Stargher's head is a theatre of the grotesque, which, as envisioned by first-time director Tarsem Singh, is a smorgasbord of the surreal that borrows liberally from the Brothers Quay, Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, Hieronymous Bosch, Salvador Dali and a surplus of other cannibalised sources.This provides one of the wildest, weirdest visual feasts ever committed to film, and The Cell earns a place among such movie mind-trips as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Altered States, What Dreams May Come and Un Chien Andalou. Is this a good thing? Sure, if all you want is freakazoid eye-candy. If you're looking for emotional depth, substantial plot and artistic coherence, The Cell is sure to disappoint. The pop-psychology pablum of Mark Protosevich's screenplay would be laughable if it weren't given such sombre significance, and Singh's exploitative use of sadomasochistic imagery is repugnant (this movie makes Seven look tame), so you are better off marvelling at the nightmare visions that are realised with astonishing potency. The Cell is too shallow to stay in your head for long, but while it's there, it's one hell of a show.On the DVD Sounding more like a stand-up comedian than a serious filmmaker in his feature-length commentary, director Tarsem Singh (a veteran of glossy TV commercials and music videos) clearly reveals that dazzling visuals took priority over plot and character in The Cell. This emphasis is echoed throughout the DVD's bonus features, especially in a featurette "tribute" to Singh by primary members of his creative team. While the deleted scenes are interesting, they add nothing to the finished film, so it's easy to see why they were deleted. Detailed examination of the film's special effects offers a first-rate primer on the state of the art of digital imagery. To lend an air of scientific credibility to the film's basic premise, a brain map and "empathy test" are included, inviting viewers to take a multiple-choice quiz to determine their level of empathy and compassion toward other human beings. (The lower your score, presumably, the more you have in common with serial killers.) --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com