The Cell

How to Make an Entrance 101 (source)

How to Make an Muthafukkin Entrance 101 (source)

Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is a child psychologist who has been working with a comatose boy for several months. She ‘works’ with him by going inside his mind–into his dreams, sort of. Look, this is science fiction and you’re just going to have to work with us if you want to get to the fetishwear, okay? This film is about the fetishwear and the cool visuals. The plot and the dialogue… just… go with it.

So she goes in and does therapy with the boy inside his dreams. That’s how we learn what she does and how it works. Dylan Baker–it doesn’t matter what his character’s name is–he’s awesome in everything, believe me, you’ve seen him in at least three things–explains part of what’s happening. Marianne Jean-Baptiste (why is she in this?) explains the other half. (She’s in Broadchurch. Go watch that.)

Her character is Dr Miriam Kent and she’d tried co-in-dream therapy but, darn it, she just wasn’t as good as that plucky, young-un, C.De or whatever her name is. So there’s still a third table in there, just in case they need it again later. :cough:Chekhov’s third table:cough:

Focus on the fetishwear, not the gaping plotholes or terrible dialogue.

Meanwhile, we get to see a dude (Vincent D’Onofrio) doing some things to a woman. He then (somehow) self-suspends himself above her.

I need to know how he got himself up there on his own. (source)

Like so. I need to know how he got himself up there on his own. (source)

It’s also intimated that he has some ‘quality time’ with himself while in this position. Is that possible? [I rewatched this film because I’m doing a body suspension next weekend and I will NOT be attempting that. It’s also only two points of suspension.]

The cops find the woman’s body and the FBI (Vince Vaughn) are there, too, as it’s a serial case. It takes the FBI roughly 5.2 seconds to find suspendo boy up there because the point of the film is the pretty visuals.

Also, when they get to his house he’s in a coma.

Because he’s got some super-rare form of schizophrenia that kicked off at just the right second. That’s conven…


So. C.De is now in talks about what could happen if she goes into his head to do some therapy. See, he’s already taken another woman and she’s in this automated cell, which seems weird. Why wouldn’t he want to be there…

Focus. Not the point.

Catherine has to find out where this woman is before she dies. Dear god, this dialogue. You may be tempted to bash on the acting, but nobody could work with these lines.

Dream therapist goes in and she’s in a Nine Inch Nails video. Seriously. I immediately thought that, then I was looking at the Wikipedia page when writing this review and the director, Tarsem Singh, took inspiration from ‘Closer’ and ‘The Perfect Drug’. I really dig both of those so it worked for me big time.

Apparently Singh was also influenced by ‘Bedtime Story’ by Madonna and Marilyn Manson videos.

Lots of fetish and industrial looking things. Sort of Silent Hill-like, too.

Then this happens:

I *know* this is someone's fetish. (source)

I *know* this is someone’s fetish. (source)

Totally Someone’s Fetish lady puts Dream Therapist down in a big room and dude from way at the top of the page makes the best entrance of all time and wants to know why a new person has arrived in his head. Fair dues.

She wakes herself up. She has a chat with FBI guy about why he no longer practices law. He had a Bad Case. It was Super Traumatic. Then she decides to go back in.

At some point someone explained that it could be really dangerous if Dream Therapist started to believe the world inside Mr Self-Suspender’s head was real because she wouldn’t know to bring herself out or something.

So guess what happens.

Luckily, we have Chekhov’s third table. [This is not a spoiler. If you have three brain cells you’ll work this out and the point of this film is all the kinky fetish stuff to look at. Everything else that happens is to facilitate those moments.]

So then we have two people in the mind of schizophrenic guy–one trained and one so-very-not. But it’s still gorgeous to look at and the scenes could have gone on longer.

Oh, will they find the woman in time? Gee, do they ever in big, Hollywood films?

The make up, costumes and effects are worth it. (source)

The make up, costumes and effects are worth it. (source)

I know I’ve been snarking pretty hard on this film, but … it’s kinda terrible. But it’s also kinda great. It was released in 2000 and the visuals are still impressive, which isn’t something you can usually say. ‘Lush’ is an appropriate word.

It’s the sort of film you can put on in the background and look up at when it gets to the part you actually want to see. You know, the video game parts. Except a really well-rendered, never lagging kind of video game.

The Cell reminds me of lucid dreaming–if you can lucid dream it’s pretty awesome. But then you wake up and everything is a cliche and predictable. Oh god. It’s more like real life than I thought.

There are lots of high quality screen caps here if you’d like to see more.

It’s difficult to rate this one. I’m going to give it a four and say maybe watch it on mute.


Share your thoughts