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Overall Rating
2.96

Awesome: 19.6%
Worth A Look: 23.62%
Just Average: 14.07%
Pretty Crappy: 18.59%
Sucks24.12%

12 reviews, 127 user ratings


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Cell, The
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by EricDSnider

"An unsettling and eye-catching film."
4 stars

From the first frame to the last, "The Cell" is a visually striking film, as gorgeous as it is grotesque, at times virtually unwatchable, yet impossible not to watch.

From director Tarsem Singh's often mind-blowing camera angles and Paul Laufer's scene-stealing cinematography, to Tom Foden's imaginative production design, to Guy Dyas and Michael Manson's art direction and April Napier's costumes, to Robert Duffy and Paul Rubell's quick-cut, snapshot-like editing, this is the first film this year in which the crew deserves more applause than the actors.

The film opens with child psychologist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) inside the mind of a comatose child. Advanced, experimental technology allows this, as long as both parties are wearing skin-tight, muscle-textured rubber suits and are suspended from strange laboratory wires in a top-secret facility.

The idea is that, while the boy cannot communicate in real life, perhaps Catherine can be enough of a counselor inside his head to bring him out of the coma.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles is plagued by a serial killer named Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio), who kidnaps women, keeps them alive in a glass prison cell for a few days, then drowns them and bleaches them to look like porcelain dolls. He's already got a victim (Catherine Sutherland) in the cell when he collapses into a coma, moments before being captured by FBI agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn). No one except Carl knows where the soon-to-be victim is, and Carl's in a coma. How to get the information from him and save the woman's life?

Ah, thank goodness for that brain-visiting technology. It's "Silence of the Lambs" gone futuristic as Catherine enters the mind of a serial killer, hopefully to gain his trust enough to learn where his secret hide-out is.

The scenes inside anyone's head are fascinating, but especially in Carl's. The editing, set designs and sound effects are every bit as eerie as you'd expect; the first sequence in there is truly frightening, as we realize that in this place, ANYTHING can happen. The fact that Catherine can get herself out of there by pressing a button on her hand is of little comfort as we confront the young, abused Carl and the adult, devilish monster he imagines himself to be. Make no mistake, Carl's mind is a sick, twisted, often disturbing place.

Lopez and Vaughn are adequate in their roles, neither of which requires a lot. The film gives us cliches in revealing Peter's backstory, which is both unnecessary and unnecessarily gross. Fortunately, they stop just short of saying he, too, was abused as a child, leaving it as an implication without going the stereotypical route of making this a "personal" case for him.

In fact, the film does a pretty good job of avoiding cliches all the way around, up until the finale, which has too much going on at once and doesn't add up to much, and which has Vaughn's character getting involved WAY too easily. But even when the film foreshadows, it does it in a fairly innocuous, natural way. Savvy film-goers might pick up on what's being hinted at, but chances are you won't think much about it.

D'Onofrio's scenes as killer Carl and as the demonized overlord Carl are frightening and intense without being over-the-top -- a tightrope walk that he and the director navigate very well.

The whole thing's a tightrope walk, really, with much potential to be absolutely ridiculous, as well as the easy trap of becoming just another serial-killer movie. And it should not be overlooked that the mind-entering thing doesn't always completely make sense. But the fact that it all comes off as credible anyway is a tribute to the people who made it look and feel so fantastically real and unreal.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4392&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/01/03 01:50:03
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User Comments

9/24/17 PennyNotSoWise Lopez' butt is the true star 4 stars
6/02/11 Bronson Mejia I tried to like this movie and wonder what Ebert saw that I didn't! 1 stars
8/29/10 KingNeutron Unique movie - worth watching for the effects and the dream sequences 4 stars
12/20/09 FrankNFurter Overly-bashed film with high creepiness/suspence and unique visuals. Worth watching! 4 stars
8/29/09 CTT Incredible stuff, very underappreciated 5 stars
1/21/09 Psychotic angel Looks good, but story is horrible. And why all you sane people have filth or gore fetish? 3 stars
9/14/08 Panda Monium Amazing imagery makes up for plot holes, very creepy 4 stars
8/26/08 Shaun Wallner This is the kind of movie you fall asleep too. 1 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT ITS THE CLASSIC ERROR OF STYLE AND NO SUBSTANCE. TOTALLY DISTASTEFUL 1 stars
6/27/07 gr117 Crapola 1 stars
1/18/07 Marjorie This film was a journey through the mind of a killer who lives in a psychological hell 4 stars
1/15/07 David Pollastrini saw it but have no memory so it must have sucked 2 stars
10/15/06 Adrian Thoroughly enjoyable. Visionary, but the story and characters needed work. Too short as wel 4 stars
6/18/06 chienne Strange, creepy, weird & total frog shit. What was the horse thing about? 2 stars
10/10/05 Carolyn Rathburn This film left me feeling strange, a little like I needed a place to hide. 4 stars
8/06/05 Charlene Javier Severely underrated. 4 stars
8/03/05 Carolyn Rathburn Left me feeling strange, plays on the emotions 4 stars
8/02/05 Eric Rollins Fascinating on many levels. Best visual effect is making J-Los butt look good. 4 stars
6/08/05 C. Butterill Would like to find a review that analyzes the strong imagery references to Mary, the Christ 4 stars
4/23/05 Vince Pretty cool flick. Don't listen to dorky total crappers, watch it! 4 stars
4/12/05 Indrid Cold Ultimately pretty shallow, but worth seeing for the stunning imagery. 4 stars
1/10/05 Archanist_101 It would've been better as an Anime & if it was directed by Clive Barker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
12/11/04 Admiral Piett Fuck J-Lo 1 stars
9/25/04 teri hill awsome movie 5 stars
9/22/04 R.W. Welch Pic is overwhelmed by mostly meaningless dreamscapes. Some interesting images. 2 stars
5/19/04 Proteus The setdesigner is the only one who put this on his resume. Shoulda hired Kaufman to script 1 stars
3/04/04 Vince A creepy serial killer movie with a twist.... I liked it 4 stars
2/24/04 john wants to be clever but ends up overindulgent and obvious - rather pointless film 1 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Visually stunning, as disturbing as I want, beautiful, and subliminal. Good meat flavour. 5 stars
7/07/03 nr great 5 stars
5/25/03 John40 underrated sci-fi flick with great visuals 4 stars
5/16/03 Jack Sommersby Style over substance. Repugnant, boring, and forgettable. 1 stars
4/22/03 mr. Pink Boring crap 1 stars
4/18/03 Ubu the Ripper Not even worth the effort to type a comment. 1 stars
2/28/03 Monique worst i've ever seen, threw popcorn at the screen in anger. j-lo gotta go! 1 stars
2/25/03 scott A GOOD FILM 5 stars
2/01/03 Goofy Maxwell Coulda been a wicked comic book on film - comix needn't make sense, but thrillers... 2 stars
11/17/02 Paul The good thing id Lopez barley talks..sits around looking scared 2 stars
11/14/02 Paul The good thing id Lopez barley talks..sits around looking scared 2 stars
11/07/02 solamia i loved it 5 stars
8/13/02 Bryan Brooks It's so bad, I'm suprised Jake Lloyd wasn't in it. J-Lo=no-acto. 2 stars
7/14/02 ! pure bullshit 1 stars
5/14/02 hooman farmer 1 stars
3/04/02 Alan Smithee Other than Ms. Lopez's ass, this movie is just a boring turd. 1 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent This was more whacked up than Pi. Weird weird weird. 3 stars
1/15/02 Bojo I'm really surprised that so many of you hate this movie. You all suck. Visuals were amazin 5 stars
1/14/02 Andrew Carden MST2K Should Take This One Into Their Grasp. 2 stars
10/30/01 I love movies Roger Ebert opinions are dinosaur crap. He also liked nutty professor 2 1 stars
9/23/01 Jim Cranky Critic sez: "Disembowelment: The Music Video" That's about right. 3 stars
9/08/01 Butterbean Not as bad as everyone says. D'Onofio was great in it and there was a nice story. 3 stars
6/27/01 This movie sucks don't waste your money The "Hooked on phonics" version of the Matrix with no big words 1 stars
6/02/01 Thrillhouse boring, tasteless, stupid, and illogical 1 stars
5/27/01 I love movies Roger Ebert i hate you you used to be reliable, now you give this fucking movie four stars. 1 stars
5/23/01 Rampage UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE...don't waste your money on a crappy movie like this one 1 stars
5/06/01 Roy Smith Very pretty and incredibly stupid , screams for MST3K treatment.. 1 stars
4/18/01 Tam Thriller eh? This didnt thrill me at all. Took far too long. 2 stars
4/13/01 suraj kumar singha fuck 5 stars
4/11/01 Jesse L Besides the ludicrous plot, Jennifer should have been topless 2 stars
4/08/01 Steve All visual, no substance. JLo actress??? 2 stars
3/19/01 Elendil ...and the concept had such potential...BTW, the effects aren't *that* great. 1 stars
2/10/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi A hybrid of Smashing Pumpkins/Marylin Manson videos, with J Lo as the obligatory hot babe. 4 stars
2/01/01 Dan Waldman Plot died from exhaustion & took visuals with it 1 stars
1/18/01 Derrick G. Jackson One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Garbage! 1 stars
1/15/01 Nut Total suck. Lopez as a brilliant scientist--yeah right! 1 stars
1/05/01 Emily i thought this movie was superb. and i'll say it again. superb. 5 stars
12/23/00 Bev Clark Visually striking but fucking awful narrative 3 stars
12/22/00 mahone Glossed up B crap. 2 stars
12/10/00 BrittenysPears Lopez needs to stick to "singing" this is the definition of sucks all ass 1 stars
12/02/00 scott wahls the matrix meets seven, if there is no sequel my life will be empty 5 stars
11/24/00 The Evil Penguin Corny dialogue, but the imagination is stun you. 3 stars
11/20/00 The Bill Head This was an okay movie. It had some moments...that's about it. 3 stars
11/19/00 Fat bastard You don't need a plot, you have Jennifer Lopez and some cool visual fx 3 stars
11/16/00 Caz:) Deliciously weird! An eye opener! Fantastic visuals and solid script. 5 stars
11/04/00 Jon I think people say they like Lopez to hide their homosexuality 1 stars
9/30/00 Ivan Truly marvelous suspense thriller! Silence of the Lambs doesn't even come close!! 5 stars
9/17/00 Gluke what a fucking trip!!! 5 stars
9/16/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Hey Everybody! Let's find cruel and sadistic ways to torture women! Hooray For Hollwyood!!! 1 stars
9/14/00 bartv A few stri$8.50 to see Jennifer as a great model but terrible actress with absurd dialogue. 2 stars
9/13/00 Ground Zero Two words: bad movie 2 stars
9/13/00 PJ eye candy, plotholes, bad acting, over direction, pretensious, style over substance, sucks! 2 stars
9/10/00 The Bomb 69 visual masterpiece, story held up as well 4 stars
9/09/00 MIKE TERRIBLE. NO PLOT. I WOULD RATHER KISS THAT BEAST JENNIFER LOPEZ THEN SEE THIS AGAIN! 1 stars
9/07/00 Tdis72 A sucking movie for all the hype about this and I won't see anymore Jennifer Lopez movies 1 stars
9/07/00 Basil Worth a look just for the special effects. 3 stars
9/06/00 Mike This could have been very good, but the plot crapped at the end. 3 stars
9/03/00 Zeitgeist hmm...you'd think they'd drug test someone whose job is to enter people's minds 3 stars
9/03/00 M-Cat of the Feline Posse don't believe the reviews, just watch the movie 5 stars
9/01/00 ALIaS Incredible Visuals! The story however fell so short of its potential 4 stars
8/31/00 Diehard Actually, I found the plot to be quite involving. It was actually original and well-played 4 stars
8/30/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Looked like a lot of my dreams...does this mean I'm schizo??? 4 stars
8/27/00 Girl 9 weak plot and BAD acting by Lopez, but still strangely interesting... 4 stars
8/26/00 Kriperace S.S.D.D 2 stars
8/26/00 All o dat Jennifers ass and a surgicly sliced horse. 5 stars
8/26/00 Chuck The separated-hore thing was pretty cool... 1 stars
8/26/00 NICK i only saw it to see jenny lopezs PHAT ASS 1 stars
8/25/00 PhilmPhreak Very pretty visuals, very dumb story 3 stars
8/24/00 Maclay01 Should have been condensed into a ten-minute video - the story was insulting 2 stars
8/24/00 Movieman Bizarre, but original 4 stars
8/23/00 amy dawson this movie kicked ass 5 stars
8/23/00 Politicsman SOTL meets Matrix meets Dark City meets Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here 3 stars
8/23/00 BRINGER OF BAD SMELLS I didn't know that they stacked shit that high. 1 stars
8/23/00 Ramen Noodles all that bullcrap to solve what normal policework could have figured out 1 stars
8/23/00 **~**Persnickety**~** damn, this movie left me speechless,,incredible 5 stars
8/23/00 kim boyd beautiful but u don't get 2 know the characters well enuff 2 care n wht hppnd 2 the 1st boy 2 stars
8/22/00 forger This stank to high heaven, watch the trailer & save your $$ 1 stars
8/21/00 elfpunkt don't go to see this while frying.... 5 stars
8/21/00 Captain Highcrime A contemporary/modern art gallery come to life. 5 stars
8/21/00 Jubilee Guy Visually stunning, decent story (with some holes). 4 stars
8/21/00 malcolm "Silence of the Lambs" on acid -- side shot of Lopez's ass doesn't hurt either 3 stars
8/21/00 doompoon really makes you cherish the moment. Visuals so out of this world that they suspend you 5 stars
8/21/00 Roman Pretty damn cool 5 stars
8/21/00 PJ Some of the visuals were amazing, but I was a little dissapointed 3 stars
8/20/00 ItHasVinceVaughnInIt Visually amazing, amazing script, amazing acting...best of the summer 5 stars
8/20/00 KoHawk This movie was extremely innovative and, well, awesome.My dimwitted counterparts wont agree 5 stars
8/20/00 Doctor Collosus Visionary! Horrifying and Beautiful. Not for the weak-minded 5 stars
8/20/00 JonnyA Worth seeing, great visuals esp. a shot of Lopez in her undies...ghetto booty whut! whut! 4 stars
8/20/00 Stargher What's with all these grainy-looking movies recently? This one's the best. Stunning, truly 5 stars
8/19/00 LoudChris IT was like riding an awsome, short roller coster with a long line 3 times. 4 stars
8/19/00 Thor A beautifully designed and gorgeously photographed intensely bad movie. 1 stars
8/19/00 Merripen Some of the most beautiful visuals I have ever seen. Excellent. 5 stars
8/19/00 Rue the Whirl Visually average, story sucking, overall a disappointment 2 stars
8/18/00 Kip Visualy wonderful, story a little lacking, but over all good. 4 stars
8/18/00 Linda Phillips weak on acting and dialogue; strong on effects 3 stars
8/18/00 frank visual masterpiece. good script. lots of disturbing bits. 4 stars
8/18/00 hamlet3k Surreal visuals and disturbing imagery make for creepy good time. 4 stars
8/17/00 Jokko fucking LAME. shitty performances, massive directoral masturbation, utterly awful script. 1 stars
8/12/00 Justin Brilliant , loaded with incredible effects, and genius ideas, Lopez's ass deserves an OSCAR 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Aug-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Nov-2000 (M)




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