Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Cell

Movie Name: The Cell
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Gerry Becker, Tara Subkoff, Dean Norris, Patrick Bauchau, Musetta Vander, James Gammon, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jake Thomas, Peter Sarsgaard
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following a successful career directing commercials and music videos, director Tarsem Singh made his feature film debut with "The Cell", which coincidentally was also writer Mark Protosevich's first produced screenplay (he went on to write Francis Lawrence's "I Am Legend" and Kenneth Branagh's "Thor"). The film follows the story of Catherine Deane, a unique social worker, who is using state of the art technology, to work with children who have severe hindrances due to past traumas. She's put in a difficult situation, when she's approached by the FBI, who have managed to capture a dangerous serial killer, who has suffered a severe attack, and is unable to respond or maintain any contact. The difficult situation is created by the fact that he kidnapped another victim, and the FBI has 40 hours to uncover where she is. They hope that using the technology and Catherine's talents, they can get to his psyche, and possibly uncover where she has been hidden.
Tarsem Singh is a director with a noticeable stylistic approach, one that mixes graphic art with baroque and even ornate stylings. The style is at times overpowering, but it makes for a definitely arresting component of all the films that he has directed thus far. "The Cell" captures a lot of the themes and even aesthetic flourishes that David Fincher had showcased so impeccably in "Seven". The film once again tries to illustrate the proceedings of capturing a serial killer, but in this particular case, it focuses more specifically on what makes one become a killer. What takes place inside his mind, is what it's supposedly terrifying, but mostly comes across as a mix of a Marilyn Manson video from 1996 and also showcases some influences from David Fincher's film and also a dash of Jonathan Demme's "Silence of the Lambs". All this to say - the film is hardly convoluted, and hardly offers any different perspective or heart for that matter. Jennifer Lopez doesn't really have much to do, other than look beautiful in stunning costumes, whereas Vincent D'Onofrio, who is typically terrific, has very little to do, but does manage to salvage himself. The film has a fantastic selling point: the beautifully created and designed costumes of Eiko Ishioka (who won an Academy Award for Francis Coppola's "Dracula"). It's a high point, but otherwise this is a mediocre endeavor.