Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is a special child psychotherapist. She has helped develop a technique by which she can literally enter the minds of her patients, by which she interacts with them and their world they have created and ultimately guide them through their psychosis. One of her favorite patients is a young autistic boy who has fallen into a comatose state. No matter what she tries in the boys “world” nothing seems to help and the boy’s parents are ready to pull the plug on the experimental therapy.
Carl Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio) is a dangerous killer who kidnaps young women and systematically tortures and drowns them in a special water tank. The FBI finally captures him, but he has fallen into a coma and the last girl he kidnapped is still missing.
In order to find her before she drowns in her torture cell, Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) and Agent Gordon Ramsey (Jake Weber) request the help of Catherine to enter his mind to find out where he has the girl hidden. Stargher’s “world” is nothing like anything she’s ever experienced, with ease she is able to get inside but getting out is the difficult part.
Written by Mark Protosevich (who wrote the screenplay for I am Legend and the soon to be released Thor) and directed by Tarsem Singh (who directed The Fall another visual triumph), The Cell elevates the psychotic serial killers mind into a dreamstastic visual world of nightmarish intrigue.
Never has a movie allowed us into the working of a serial killers mind as The Cell does. We’re always on the outside being the spectator, we are never thrust inside. The haunting and bizarre imagery shown in The Cell is without a doubt disturbing and allows us to take all our preconceived notions of what demented is and turns it on its head.
The Cell does not bog us down with endless back-story or cut back and forth between any unnecessary sub-plots; it wasn’t a necessity to build Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn’s characters because they are merely there to aid us in connecting to Carl’s mind. Morbid visual poetry is what is most important in this film. Costumes and set design are visually inspiring, while the cinematography is amazing. Tarsem Singh has definite “signature” style to his directing, much like Guillermo Del Torro, you just know it’s their film when you see it.
If you have not had the pleasure of seeing this stunning cinematic jewel I suggest you do.
Rating: 9/10 stars
Running time: 108 minutes
The Cell Trailer: