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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually Mesmerizing and Graphic film!
The Cell is a director's film. It is extravagant and imaginative, bold in its use of color and textures captured by the lens. The subject explores the deep recesses of the mind of a serial killer and in doing so, takes liberties with the real and unreal. The end result is a fantastic cinema tapestry that would delight any artist. The movie is an interesting hybrid of...
Published on 14 Jan 2001 by stussy71

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars visually incredible
I had no idea what to expect when I watched this, so just let the film carry me. It was predictable, but not in a way that got on my nerves or ruined the film. What struck me was the sheer imagination that had gone into it. It's a very graphic film, but astounding in it's projection to the audience. Jennifer Lopez annoys the pants off me, but she suited this part down to...
Published on 1 May 2001


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually Mesmerizing and Graphic film!, 14 Jan 2001
This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
The Cell is a director's film. It is extravagant and imaginative, bold in its use of color and textures captured by the lens. The subject explores the deep recesses of the mind of a serial killer and in doing so, takes liberties with the real and unreal. The end result is a fantastic cinema tapestry that would delight any artist. The movie is an interesting hybrid of genres. It's part science fiction, part crime story and part psychological thriller. Jennifer Lopez is Catherine Deane, a child psychologist working for an experimental research facility whose techniques involve mental teleportation, allowing doctor and patient to interface in the subconscious realm. Quirky indeed, but great food for sci-fi thought in our current cyber age. The premise allows for free artistic reign put to good use by Tarsem. Vincent D'Onofrio plays Carl Stargher, the psychotic killer who drowns his female victims in a cell chamber before transforming them into dolls to fulfill his sadistic fantasies... Stargher is captured early in the film but a coma prevents him from disclosing the whereabouts of his latest victim to the FBI team, led by Vince Vaughn. The imagery in costume, makeup and set design is both ornate and horrific in the mind sequences, making footage of the real world drab in comparison. The colors are lush and surreal and at times, I suspected David Lynch to be somewhere behind the scenes. Many visual comparisons could be made to Twin Peaks or the X-Files or other contemporary works that explore the dark forces of the unknown. The acting is secondary to production in this picture (with the exception of D'Onofrio). Stand here. Do this. Say this. The actors are just along for the ride on this one, although I will say that this is one vehicle that seems to fit Lopez to perfection as it magnifies the actress's dual persona of sultry woman and haut-couture diva. Since most of the compelling drama occurs in the mental realm, it is difficult to find much fault in the plot. After all, how can you critique imagination? The Cell is a visually mesmerizing and graphic film, intended for mature audiences.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars visually incredible, 1 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
I had no idea what to expect when I watched this, so just let the film carry me. It was predictable, but not in a way that got on my nerves or ruined the film. What struck me was the sheer imagination that had gone into it. It's a very graphic film, but astounding in it's projection to the audience. Jennifer Lopez annoys the pants off me, but she suited this part down to the ground, as the social worker with a difference. Her acting wasn't the brightest of the movie though. Hat off to Vincent D'Onfrio for an incredible portrayl of a seriously warped serial killer. The beauty of going into his mind, is that you understand his beginnings, and it creates great empathy. It was a great shame that the script and storyline weren't better - the amount of creative effort deserved more balance. Worth watching for the special effects, but don't expect it to change your life!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Startling glimpse of a psychotic subsconscious, 10 April 2006
By 
T. D. Welsh (Basingstoke, Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Although "The Cell" is far from perfect, I think the previous reviews are far too negative. This movie is certainly not for everyone, as it departs quite a long way from the standard templates in which most violent thrillers are cast. An extremely violent, uninhibited killer (Vincent D'Onofrio as Carl Stargher) is caught by police - but where is his latest victim, who is probably still alive? Searching and forensic examination yield no useful pointers, and Stargher himself thwarts detectives by withdrawing into a near-coma.
This is where Lopez' character, psychologist Catherine Deane, volunteers to enter the killer's warped mind using a machine she has invented. (You have to suspend disbelief to accept this improbably advanced technology). As might be expected, once she gets in there the balance of power is radically altered. Stargher's mind calls the shots, and the familiar limitations of physical law cease to apply. Literally anything that can be imagined may occur - including some things you might prefer not to imagine. Deane struggles to communicate with Stargher's more vulnerable and accessible manifestations, while realising that the violent, uncompromising fragment of his personality may obliterate her at any moment. Eventually she loses control, and FBI agent Peter Novak is forced to penetrate Stargher's mind in a desperate rescue attempt (he is absolutely unqualified for the task).
There is a fascinating parallel between "The Cell" and Roger Zelazny's brilliant science fiction novella "The Dream Master", published in 1966. Anyone who is interested in the core idea of a psychologist experiencing patients' minds through virtual reality should check out readers' reviews of "The Dream Master" here on Amazon; it gets a 4.5 star average, which is rather better than "The Cell".
I would unhesitatingly give "The Cell" five stars, but it does occasionally seem to lose focus. Perhaps there is not a big enough market for this kind of work: not enough people who read books like "The Dream Master" also watch movies like "The Cell". To me, it is just as compelling and memorable as Thomas Harris' novel "Red Dragon" and "Manhunter", the excellent film that was based on it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, one of my favourites, 16 Aug 2007
By 
Simon Daultrey "g3fan" (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Contrary to magazine, newspaper and TV reviews, and the quotes printed all over the DVD packaging, this is not all about Jenniffer Lopez dressing sexy and pouting.

Visionary director Tarsem Singh, who cut his teeth in TV commercials, has put together an absolute masterpiece, in my opinion. It's one of those few multi-genre movies that really hits the mark in all areas; Sci-fi, fantasy, and horriffic thriller are all woven beautifully together, to create a story that is gripping, captivating, and convincing.

J-Lo plays the role of Catherine, a psycho-therapist who's job is to literally enter the mind, and fantasy world, of children with serious mental illness, to try and help improve their quality of life.

When the FBI, on the hunt for an illusive serial killer, find their suspect in a coma, Catherine is asked to enter the dark, twisted fantasy world in his mind to try to determine where his next victim is being held in captivity.

Singh's unique visionary approach to setting, costume and general atmosphere make the story moving and frightening, but equally enticing - obscure and unnerving as some scenes are, they are also sometimes quite stunning, and it really makes it worth putting up with the chill-factor because you just want to see what happens next.

This is the only film I have seen that has honestly come close to feeling like a real-life dream/nightmare feels. It's got all the elements of twisted reality that you get from a strange dream, with out being too far-out and ridiculous.

"The Cell" is not a hugely gory or violent film, like "Saw" or "Hostel"....it's intelligent, and uses psychological trickery to keep you right on the edge of your seat. It would appeal both to people who like a good, suspenseful thriller, as well as anyone interested in dark, artistic fantasy as seen in films such as "Pan's Labrynth".

Careful use of CGI is combined with quality direction, a solid storyline and script, and is brilliantly executed by it's leading cast. Don't dismiss it just because it's J-Lo - you'd be really missing out...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A visually stunning, mesmerizing experience, 28 Nov 2002
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
The Cell is quite simply an incredible motion picture, straddling several genres while forging an identity uniquely its own. The concept of mind-linking is a little futuristic, but the plot remains strong and believable from start to finish. The acting is terrific, especially on the part of Jennifer Lopez and Vincent D’Onofrio. The visual effects are stunning, intricately detailed, and mesmerizing, to say the least. In terms of content, the movie can be disturbing and perhaps horrifying to some individuals, but there is nothing I would characterize as gratuitous gore. Besides the sheer beauty of this film, I was greatly impressed by the symmetry of the presentation; this applies to single scenes as well as the movie as a whole.
J. Lo plays psychologist Catherine Deane; in an attempt to reach a comatose boy, she employs an advanced technology to link with and actually enter the mind of her patient; this is an experimental treatment that produces results very slowly. She soon finds herself asked to do a rush job on a certain man named Carl Stargher. Stargher is a truly demented serial killer whose brain decides to shut down completely just before the police catch him. In a bold attempt to locate the killer’s most recent victim, who has only hours to live based on the killer’s m.o., the authorities ask Deane to try and communicate with the otherwise unreachable mind of the killer. Running the risk of becoming trapped inside the madman’s demented mind, Deane agrees to embark on a mental journey of surreal, mind-altering proportions.
Obviously, a serial killer’s mind is a dark, disturbing place. The visual effects of that journey are stunning, marked with incredible beauty as well as nightmarish horror. One is hard pressed to describe this facet of the movie; it is an experience that must be seen to be appreciated. What may strike viewers as most disturbing, though, are the crimes and acts of Stargher. Stargher abducts women, keeping them in an automated torture cell for a couple of days before killing them, bleaching their bodies to make them doll-like creatures. He doesn’t stop there, but I won’t get into the details of his ultimate purposes.
DVD technology really brings out the great subtlety of the visual effects and highlights the incredible attention to detail on the part of the filmmakers. The extra features are also excellent and diverse. The ability to gain insight into the director’s ideas and purposes is most welcome for such an unusual film, and the deleted scenes add depth and further insight into the minds of both Stargher and Deane. There are so many reasons to buy this movie. I think some people avoid The Cell for fear of its disturbing aspects, but I think such perceptions are unwarranted. There is certainly a lot of material here for horror fans to love, and some viewers probably will not fall in love with the movie the way I did, but lovers of well-made movies will find themselves mesmerized by this cinematic masterpiece.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous., 30 Mar 2001
By 
Sick Mouthy (Exeter, Devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Visually stunning. Dreadful script. A director much more comfortable with effects and colours and digital jiggery-pokery than with actors and dialogue, whihc is a shame in this day and age. There are so many films out there that are triumphs of style over content, and this is perhaps the pinnacle of that, because it is stupidly, offensively hollow. It tries so hard to be profound, and it fails dismally. The cod-psychoanalysis is weak, the oblique philosophical references and artistic leanings are transparent... But it's oh so pretty! Ms. Lopez is much better in Out Of Sight, Se7en is a better thriller, and Vince Vaughn shows he has real talent in the superb Swingers. The Cell? Watch it, certainly, but on rental.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the cell is a mind-blowing film!, 28 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cell [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The mind-blowing special effects in this film and the heart-touching plot make this a fantastic way to spend an evening. This film caters for everybody, from the sci-fi lover to the day-dreamer, to those into more twisted and sinestre films, and also those who enjoy a good crime/mystery flick. I utterly enojed this film, it kept me at the edge of my seat! (and at times reaching for the tissues!) All I can say is that if you are a movie lover this is a film you should put at the top of your list of must sees!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more...., 28 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
When the film started I was really optimistic. It seemed to have all the ingredients for a first-class chiller, a good storyline coupled with plenty of startling and weird imagery, kind of a cross between Silence of the Lambs and Twin Peaks. However, from about half-way through, it seemed to lose direction and never really found it again. From here the remainder of the film became predictable and less than imaginative, though the effects and styling never fail to impress. As I said, it could have been so much more...
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying and Heartbreaking, 11 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cell [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
This film uses a low key style and horrifying images of a shattered mind to create a suspenseful and thoughtful thriller about the effects of child abuse. The earthy and sensual Jennifer Lopez leaves her J.LO image behind and loses herself in this frightening film filled with mesmerizing images of a skizoid murderer who is the only link to a kidnapped girl who's life hangs in the balance. He is in a coma and can not tell them where she is.
Catherine Deane (Lopez) is a researcher using an experimental method to actually enter the mind of mentaly ill children and try to help them. When serial killer Carl Stragher (Vincent D'Onofrio) arrives in a coma she is asked to use this technique and enter his mind to save the life of his latest kidnapped victim, who has not been found. Vince Vaughn gives a quiet but effective performance as F.B.I. agent Peter Novak, who may have personal reasons for wanting Catherine to help. But the fractured mind of the child she has been treating pales in comparison to the deeply horrifying mind of Carl Stragher.
Stark and disturbing images wait in the corridors of Stragher's mind, but once she meets the young and sweet Stragher as a child and witnesses the heartbreaking abuse he endures, she may be able to form a connection and find the girl. Things are OK for Catherine until something goes wrong and she is no longer in Stragher's mind, where she can tap the "safe" button and return to reality. The demon like Stragher crosses over and enters her mind, where his frightening creations and the Dali images become terrifyingly real.
Novak goes after her into Stragher's twisted nightmare to save Catherine and both barely survive. But a bond has been formed with the young sweet boy who once was Carl Stragher and she must try to find the strength to grant his wish, which will mean going back in one last lime.
I won't spoil anything if you haven't seen this film but there is an almost spiritual good vs. evil here as the beautiful Catherine must protect a small and frightened boy from this nightmare. Director Tarsem Singh has created a film with the horror of Thomas Harris's novel "Red Dragon". It is not something you will soon forget and not something you should watch alone. It is a reminder of how fragile the mind really is and how it can be irrevocably changed by the environment of our childhood.
This is not a film for the timid or faint of heart, but if you can handle it, here it is...
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars AN ELEVATION OF FORM OVER SUBSTANCE..., 1 Dec 2002
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cell [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The movie starts out promisingly enough. FBI agents are on the hunt for a bizarre serial killer, well acted by Vincent D'Onofrio, who kidnaps his victims and then, while they are still alive, puts them into a giant water tank that, after a certain timed interval, slowly begins to fill up with water, until the inevitable occurs.
The FBI ultimately apprehends the serial killer just after he kidnaps his last victim, but not before he has stashed his victim in an unknown location. Before the FBI can pry from him information as to the victim's whereabouts, the killer eludes them mentally by going into a total catatonic state out of which he cannot be induced. The police are at a loss as to the location of the water tank where the last victim has been presumably stashed and time is ticking. They have no way of verbally communicating with the killer in his catatonic state.
Enter psychologist Catherine Deane, into which role Jennifer Lopez is woefully miscast. Ms. Deane apparently has the ability to enter the mind of another person through the aid of a newly developed and experimental technology. She agrees to enter the mind of this deranged, sado-masochistic serial killer in an effort to probe his mental recesses for a clue as to where the victim may be, so as to aid the FBI in locating his last victim and, hopefully, snatching her from the jaws of death.
Ms. Lopez sleep walks through her role and, while looking stunningly beautiful at all times, demonstrates the acting ability of an amoeba. Anyone who has seen her in the title role in the film, "Selena" knows that she is capable of much more. For whatever reason, she seems to have been persuaded that speaking in a monotone and gazing into the distance connotes intelligence and depth. Wrong!
Moreover, while the imagery in the film is visually stunning and, oftentimes, quite beautiful, almost Dali-esque in its conception and execution, it cannot carry and sustain the film, when the plot and story line thin out. What starts off promisingly enough, ultimately, falls flat. The film turns out to be just an unfortunate elevation of form over substance. The end result is that the movie fails to deliver.
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Cell [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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