Sometimes Art Hurts
by Matt Sedik
A review of The Cell
It's the age-old story: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy
kidnaps girl, drowns her slowly, bleaches her corpse white and then
masturbates on it while hanging from chains attached to a dozen or so steel
rings he's had inserted into the flesh of his back...
This amazingly photographed film is twisted enough to give Vlad the Impaler
a chubby, too bad the plot's got more holes than a russian sub. But wait,
I'm jumping ahead. Let me spend as much time dissecting the plot of The
Cell as the writer,Mark Protosevich, spent penning it:
That being said, put on yer waders, it's gonna get messy. Let's start with
the actors (and I use that term loosely).
Silence of the Yams
Now, I promised myself I wouldn't start this with some cheap shot about
Jennifer Lopez's caboose (we've heard 'am all before anyway). Actually you
get a pretty good view of her derrière while she's wearing a shirt &
panties, standing in front of her fridge. Man, even the space
shuttle could circle her moon...
Lopez plays Catherine Deane, a newbie child therpist-type who works with
troubled kids at a research center that's Deepak Chopra meets Star Trek.
I'll be honest, Ms. Lopez isn't on my radar when in comes to actors and
films. I think the last thing I saw her in was Out of Sight, and
she did a great job. In The Cell she agrees to enter the mind of
serial killer Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio) to find the location of
his latest victim. My problem with Lopez, as with most of the characters
in this movie, is that you don't really develop any sort of emotional
attachment to them. You don't know much about her past and I never found
myself concerned for her during the whole Malice in Wonderland trip.
You Took Money, Baby
Did somebody give Vince Vaughn a script before shooting? I've always thought
of him as a pretty sharp guy, and wonder why he didn't steer clear of this
one. Maybe he's just waiting for Swingers 2: Electric Boogaloo. Vince
looks like he showed up to the first day of shooting straight from
an after-work bachelor party at Hooters.
Vince plays Agent Peter Novak, a district attorney turned FBI. He refuses to
let another woman die, and will go to any length to find her. And in saving
her, somehow save himself. There's a hint of what drives Agent Novak
throughout the movie, but we only see it briefly and it's never fully
developed. And what's with the horseshoe ring on the index finger, is that
puppy gov't issue there Vinny?
Two words as to Vince's motivation to make The Cell: cha-ching!
Every time I think of Vincent D'Onofrio, I remember him from Men in
Black. He just so nailed that "12 foot tall intergalactic alien cockroach
inhabiting the skin of a dead country bumpkin" thing. In The Cell
D'Onofrio doesn't have to worry too much about pushing any acting envelopes.
There are two things he does well in this film: 1.) act creepy 2.) act
The one thing I'll give him is it must've been tough going through all the
costume/makeup changes. In the beginning of the film he looks like the
floppy-haired stoner dude behind the counter of the local 7-11. From there
he changes into a handful of various god-like figures inhabiting the
disturbing rusty landscapes of his mind. And as the story progresses you
think you're watching an hour and a half long Nine-Inch-Nails video.
One thing that kept going through my mind was just how useful it might be
to have a dozen stainless steel rings surgically implanted into my back.
Think of all the things you could hang back there: keys, sunglasses, a
towel (y'know, when you're out swimming). If you're jogging at night, you
could hang some blinking bike lights of them. And when you buddy's bored,
maybe they could weave interesting design shapes through the hoops with
some colored string.
What Screams May Come
As the film's director, Mr. Tarsem Singh is probably most famous for his
REM video "Losing My Religion". It shows. Actually The Cell probably
would've been much more interesting if it were a video, or at least one-third
the length. Don't get me wrong, this film is a visual feast. It's got some
imagery you won't forget for some time. What was forgotten, unfortunately,
was this little thing called a story. In the end, there's plenty of
dazzle, but ultimately The Cell is simply Muzak for your eyes.
Yeah, But Can I Take a Chick?
Hmmm... as a first date movie, I'd have to say no (then again, this is coming
from a guy whose first dates movies included The Crying Game and Dead
Man Walking). I think any chances of trying to come off as the "sensitive
guy" type get tossed out the window within the first 10 minutes of the movie
(hint: back rings). And even if you've been living with a girl for years, if
she belongs to PETA then again, stay away. I'm not quite sure who the
audience of this movie was supposed to be, possibly Marilyn Manson fans on
photos © copyright New Line Cinema