The Cell Reviews
The actual Serial Killer was by far, one of the least interesting killers in this genre. The whole film was very theatrical in it?s interpretation which made some of the ?unconscious? scenes of the film visually mesmerising?yes there is a but?the theatrical interpretation was milked for all it?s worth and went on far too long, without any great explanation of the mind twisting scenario. I?m sure many people will have been put off by this element of the film.
A phrase you will most likely hear a great deal, and possibly even use yourself a few times, in discussing film is "style over substance." It has its applications, but what many people fail to realize is film is all about style. It is an aesthetic before a narrative. Without a style, a film is almost always nothing, and in that regard a really fantastic style is its own substance. The Cell is an exemplary case in point. Tarsem Singh props up an entirely generic serial killer procedural with some of the most remarkable visuals ever put to film, turning formula into fantasy with seeming ease. It is lush and unforgettable, brutal, intelligent. And it's not filmed with vanity or excess; the grandeur fits perfectly with the themes of the story, most notably the unlimited depths of human insanity.
The film is no real success as a thriller, which is surely what Hollywood coerced Singh into making. To have Lopez helm the affair was obviously a necessary evil, because without her this project probably would never have gotten 30 million dollars thrown at it. What The Cell best offers is the portraiture of delusion, what our psyches can create without any limitation or boundary. It is a fascinating look at surreal manifestations of very real traumas. Above all, it is captivating, mesmerizing and burningly memorable. I can only hope that time will be kinder to this film than it's reaped so far.
As a story, its pretty standard. The kind of thing Stephen King and Issac Asimov would have created if they ever had teamed up. Obviously influenced heavily by the works of the British artist Damien Hirst. Worth watching sheerly for the visual effects... both disturbing and hypnotic.