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The Cell Reviews

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Carlos M

Super Reviewer

August 12, 2013
It may be a gorgeous film to look at but the plot is weakened by a serious miscasting, with Jennifer Lopez incapable of convincing as a psychiatrist well suited for that kind of job, especially given how the character's motivations are so amateurish and confusing in the last act.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2007
Visually stunning but thematically scant take on what it would be like to enter another's psyche, in this case a serial (psycho/sexual) killer whose last victim is still trapped in a cell somewhere. Lopez and D'Onofrio are competent as antagonists delivering the drama but Vaughn is very good in this, his least Vaughn-like of roles.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2011
I really do admire Tarsem's The Cell for it's amazing nightmare sequences. However, the hit-or-miss casting and lack of interest make this a lot worse than it theoretically should be. While Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn are fine on their own, this miscasting wasn't beneficial to either of their strengths. Thankfully Vincent D'Onofrio's complete tour-de-force makes the movie as intriguing as it is, making you want to see nothing but a two hour dream sequence with him being bizarre. The visuals are landmarks for their time, mainly because it avoids heavy CGI and focuses on optical illusions. When I think about it, these were some of the best "dream sequences" i've ever seen. They were so visually and stylistically unsettling and surreal.
3niR
3niR

Super Reviewer

February 6, 2010
This was sort of interesting.
Ross C

Super Reviewer

January 17, 2010
Run-of-the-mill serial killer thriller with a sci-fi twist. Using futuristic technology J. Lo enters the comatose serial killer's mind to help solve the mystery. The fantasy dream sequences make for a good late night visual feast.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2009
It was a little bit like a music video and a car advert rolled into one. It has good bits and is visually stunning but lacks real interest in character and story. A brave film though which should be congratulated but not necessarily repeated!
Lady D

Super Reviewer

August 2, 2006
Starting on a good note, this film was better than a lot of the reviews suggested and Vince Vaughn, was surprisingly ok at a straight part.

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.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

January 22, 2007
Woefully underrated. The Cell's negative critical reaction, most likely, is an immature reflex to the once-ubiquitous presence of Jennifer Lopez. Though I don't exactly like her either, the film is more than her, and she's underrated here anyway - the oversexed, babyish naivete is easily viewed as a character trait, more than Jennifer Lopez not knowing how to act. The director is far too in control of his film to let Lopez make these choices unchecked. Once you start to realize that Catherine has issues too, such as when we get a look into her impossibly rosy mind, the performance starts to become more palatable. Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio are tolerable, but really, the acting is not the centerpiece here.

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.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

August 18, 2008
The Cell is one of those films I've been meaning to see for years. I caught a single scene on TV a few years back and I never forgot it. The scene in question is the horse segmentation based on work by Damien Hirst. The serial killer plot to this film is just to complement the visuals, though it is still quite interesting and becomes more of a redemption film towards the end. The excellent mind-scape sequences bring alive some famous artistic pieces in a live action form. The images are truly unforgettable, even to the simplest shot of a ladybird flown into the air, off a leaf by a drop of blood. The real world segments aren't quite as fascinating and it's no surprise that Singh has a background in music videos. Psychologically and artistically wonderful this is a very under-rated film and I can't help but think if a director such as Burton or Del Toro had handled it, it would have been better received.
ajaymuthecooldevils
ajaymuthecooldevils

Super Reviewer

March 15, 2007
What a surprise that this science-fiction movie made by an Asian people... Actually, it didn't impress me... The story so confusing, going to a people's minds to save another people... Yet the fantasy just make me more confused.... Jennifer Lopez herself just didn't gave a stunning performance, just more like to make herself a diva... And Vince Vaughn didn't make me impress too in his serious appearance... Just a confusing movie to watch, even that still make me want to watch it because I'm kinda curious about it...
Mark H

Super Reviewer

June 11, 2008
Triumphs style over subtance, but so visually stunning, it suceeds.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2007
Really good visuals. Very disturbing, but sooo pretty.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2008
A well-casted, interesting ride. J-Lo is solid, with Vince Vaughn giving his best performance to date. Its a sick and twisted story but its also a visual ride that takes elements from "2001" and other fascinating journeys and incoorperates them well into a modern day serial killer takedown tale.
Tim S

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2007
The visuals are what do it for me. The plot is terrible.
Daniel H

Super Reviewer

October 28, 2007
A surreal mind-bender. Occasionally, it exhibits some of the most original cinematography I've seen in a modern major motion picture.
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.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

November 30, 2006
Very thrilling, well-crafted suspense and strong acting also help sustain the suspension of disdelief since Dreamscape.
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

July 15, 2007
There's a cool and disturbing fantasy landscape inside a comatose serial killer's mind - where Jennifer Lopez must go to find the location of a missing girl before she runs out of air. The production design is astounding and disturbing inside the killer's domain. There's some bizarre museum displays and a horse-slicing machine. A macabre work of art throughout this movie.
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

May 25, 2007
Mildly interesting, stylized and visually impressive film but that's about it.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

March 17, 2007
Some beautiful imagery and a sci-fiesque spin cannot save what is ultimately just another serial killer movie. It's very nice to look at but lacks depth. J Lo was the perfect casting choice then...
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