A fully realized but perfectly mysterious environment is created in Cube. It's a system that is hard to fathom, an intricate one but seemingly simple with the use of mathematics, but the human element, really, is the thing that keeps the characters not able, until the last fifteen minutes, to really get themselves together and get out of this 'place' that may have been created by humans or aliens or even cyborgs, or nobody at all.
Cube is a great film about people with their own 'personalities'; it's appropriate, and a sweet touch, to have the opening title to homage Ridley Scott's Alien, as it's about a group of people thrust together who get picked off one by one in a claustrophobic environment. Only this time, with its set-up like the beginning of a new life itself, and the people each reflecting a stand-point that can help, damage or be neutral to the chances of escape, there's no one real "villain" except each other.
Vincenzo Natali takes the audience by the brain and doesn't let go - not the balls, mind you, though if he wants those he can get them from time to time. This is about as close to a science fiction 'No Exit', or a translation of ideas from multiple philosophers like Nietzsche and Descartes (the latter name-dropped in the film and used as a basis for mathematics), but as 'brainy' science fiction it doesn't kid those looking for just a pulse-pounding horror film either. And for anyone wanting to compare this to Saw, by the way, break it down this simply: Cube is smart, Saw is stupid. Saw starts with a semi-clever premise and shatters it with shoddy and ludicrous storytelling and characters that no one can care about. In Cube, it's just so bizarre and mechanically inspired a set-up that the characters have to be rich to keep things interesting - and they really are.
Cube will make you think while it has scenes of sensationalized killings, but they're not very rampant or frequent, and rely on what we know is going to happen and taking time with the scene- or just springing the unexpected trap. The opening scene, for example, is a staggering example of taking an audience right off its feet, much like when one first sees the chest-burster in Alien; when the guy goes into the room, and we think we hear or see something swipe downward, only to suddenly notice that the man's entire body has been sliced into a dozen pieces, it slowly dawns on us what is going on - and if your jaw doesn't drop at that, I don't what to do for you. Or, on top of this, good old fashioned suspense with the group of guys and gals going downward into the room that can be triggered by a single voice-sound.
If there's any one minor flaw it could be that a couple of the performances needed some tweaking, or perhaps went a little 'too much' in their intended paths. These two I mean Maurice Dean Witt as Quentin, the cop who with one or two little exceptions is in the same mode (ANGRYPERPLEXED black dude) in the entire running time, and the actor Andrew Miller playing Kazan. Aside from that, the performances are quite amazing, and the characteristics of the actors make these characters fit into this warped situation all the better. And the script itself is terrific, its lines of dialog always important line-to-line be it something descriptive about one of the people or that sobering 'confession' from Holloway about designing part of the outside but still having no idea what this is.
But at the end, you'll remember Cube the most for putting you in an unfamiliar world with the most familiar types you wouldn't (or would) want to be around in a situation like this. It's not simply about figuring out a puzzle or a game like some BS Saw-movie contraption. It's about morality and choices and the nature of construction of the mind and the soul. Deep stuff that entertains and attracts one in despite its closed-quarters and potential for being 'stagey'.
Review by MisterWhiplash from the Internet Movie Database.