Remember R.E.M.'s video for "Losing My Religion"? Director Tarsem Singh was responsible. He now brings his hyperstylization to the big screen with The Cell. Jennifer Lopez stars as an experimental psychologist who must use her unorthodox techniques to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer (Vincent D'Onofrio). The murderer's latest victim is being slowly drowned in an elaborate cell (his coma arrived with terrible timing) and the sexy scientist needs to discover clues to her whereabouts without being bewitched. Quirks of the subconscious unfold inside his craggy noggin, and the actors are a mere backdrop to an overwhelmingly visual experience. Lopez walks through a world of childhood fantasies, personal hang-ups, digital and costume wizardry, hallucinations, and suspense. The dreamscape is Silence of the Lambs times The Matrix, wrapped up with Singh's sleek MTV shallowness.
Despite a specious script and underacted plot, The Cell looks good. In fact it looks very good. Singh choreographs costume and makeup, elaborate sets and exquisite lighting, computer editing and special effects. The result is an surrealist world with sadomasochistic flourishes: eerie, gaudy entertainment.
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