We gave it a C+
Black, slick, and shallow as a puddle of oil comes The Cell, a serial-killer entry from yet another one-name-only-please MTV refugee, Tarsem. The plot is a Frankenstein of all the post-Manhunter conventions: Madman Carl Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio) kidnaps women and stores them in a subterranean glass cell, before drowning them and mutilating the corpses. On his trail is a tortured, stubbly G-man (Vince Vaughn), who finds his half-monster/half-man in a coma, unable to reveal the location of his latest trapped-but-alive victim. Then, through a totally preposterous twist of virtual reality, Jennifer Lopez’s kiddie shrink is enlisted to enter the psychopath’s mind, snooping around his synapses for clues.
It’s as silly as it sounds, but the visuals are so astonishing — all Central Asian swirls, Mexican saints, and baroque tortures. But without niceties like character development, plot, and story savvy that can be sustained longer than mere minutes, the visual feast just leaves you hungry for someone more accomplished to whip something other than style out of this piffle. C+
WHAT WE SAID THEN: ”The Cell is foremost about singular imagery, a succession of still pictures strung together frame by frame.” C+ (#557, Sept. 1, 2000) — Lisa Schwarzbaum
The Cell 2000 NEW LINE 107 MINUTES RATED R ALSO ON DVD