Hmm. Even though I haven’t been near The Cell since first seeing it, I was astonished when I heard about this earlier last year that I hadn’t seen it yet – even before reading all the glowing reviews of it. I didn’t expect to be blown away as some, but as Roger Ebert’s review suggests, I knew at least that it’d be different: and that’s worth a lot these days in movies.
Well, different it certainly is, and it ultimately has something to it that makes me more likely to watch it again than Tarsem’s previous work. At first this seems to be no more than a lot of very pretty pictures with no real story or character worth noting beneath them. But those things absolutely emerge as the film progresses. I don’t quite know if what the movie has to say about anything in the end is delivered powerfully enough to match the imagery and everything … but it comes closer than I’d feared.
hehe. The review turned out being more vague than the movie. Put it this way: there are two reasons to watch this movie and they’re good ones and as follows: first, clearly, the visuals … if I recall it correctly I’d honestly say The Cell was marginally better in this department but there are still more marvels to behold in this movie than what you could find in a whole clutch of movies made in the past 20 years; second, the little girl Catinca Untaru … I read some reviews comparing her to Victoire Thivisol’s performance in Ponette and kinda cringed, but it’s a good comparison … you honestly can’t call either “acting” in my opinion because part of the reason they work so well is because these girls aren’t trying to convince us of anything, they’re just being little girls in all their wonder. And Untaru here is genuinely wonderful, adding a much-needed counter any time the film may feel too pretentious or anything, interjecting with her completely convincing improprieties. It’s no masterpiece by any criteria, but it’s hard not to find the highest respect for Tarsem for making movies the way he does, and there are lots of reasons to check it out at least once.