A serial killer abducts young women, and drowns them during bizarre rites of lust. The FBI hires a psychologist who specializes in coma patients. Using neurotransmitters to infiltrate the schizophrenic mindscape of the psychopath, her goal is to free the most recent victim from mortal danger.
THE CELL is a cinematic stage play: Tarsem lets Jennifer Lopez loose on a boundless sphere inside the mind, ranging from clinically cold sci-fi confines to the wide open of the Namibian desert. World famous composer Howard Shore adds a marvelously dominant score to Tarsem’s worlds, e.g. in the formidable opening sequence. Though setting a tone in its own right, the score still intertwines closely with Tarsem’s free visions.
Even in the bombastic dream worlds, Tarsem all but foregoes special effects, yet still manages to transform everything real about the sets and the stories in the service of the dramatic opera.
Given his sure directorial hand in this »happy mixture« which is in part a very bloody one, Tarsem’s first feature film is testament not only to his delightfully ingenious approach to film genres, but also to his entertaining and visually unique stylistic capabilities.