New York Times - 08/18/2000
"...[Jennifer Lopez] gives a provocative and nuanced performance....The director [Tarsem Singh] is a dexterous visual stylist, moving effortlessly from smooth, gleaming surfaces photographed in slow motion to grainy, slightly sped-up frames..."
Total Film - 10/01/2000
"...Tarsem cleverly depicts Stargher's nightmarish psyche with some kaleidoscope optics....Plenty of disturbing, futuristic and erotic imagery..."
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2000
"...There's plenty here to keep the eye busy..."
Box Office - 10/01/2000
"...Visually arresting....[With] a remarkable performance by D'Onofrio, who continues to impress in difficult roles..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 08/28/2000
"...A wildly visionary fantasy....Challenging, wildly ambitious and technically superb..."
A wild ride inside the mind of a serial killer, THE CELL is a movie that leads viewers on a strange visual and psychological journey. Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is a child therapist working on an experimental new technology that allows for direct access into someone else's mind. However, the benefits of the technology are still unproven. Meanwhile FBI Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) is hard at work tracking down a serial killer who encloses women in a small glass cell and drowns them. Novak is able to identify the killer as Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio), but before he can be arrested, he goes into a coma. The only way to rescue his most recent victim is for Catherine to enter his mind using the experimental technology. However, Stargher's mind is so warped and frightening, there's no way to know what Deane will encounter inside of it. THE CELL is the feature film debut of Tarsem Singh, a renowned commercial and video director who overloads his film with visual splendor and horror, while sticking to a simple story of innocence lost and innocent victims saved. A must-see for fans of dark psychological thrillers, THE CELL features some controversial violence and sexual content along with amazing special effects. A chilling yet strangely elegant thriller, THE CELL is a stunning cinematic experience.
THE CELL is the feature film debut of Tarsem Singh, the Indian-born director of music videos, including R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," which won MTV's Best Video Award.
Exterior scenes were shot on locations in Southern California. The exterior scenes at the "Campbell Center" were filmed at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California. The scenes at the beginning and end of the movie in Edward's head were filmed on location in Africa.
Actor Vincent D'Onofrio was primarily attracted to the film by the opportunity to play five different versions of serial killer Carl Stargher, representing different facets of his personality.
When filled, the glass cell seen in the movie held 3,840 gallons of water. Scuba divers and paramedics were on hand at all times during the filming of these scenes.
The scene in which a horse is split into sections was inspired by the works of British artist Damien Hirst, whose works were included in the controversial "Sensation" art exhibition. The film also includes scenes based on the work of other late 20th century artists, including Odd Nerdrum and the Brothers Quay.
The animated sequence that Catherine watches on television near the beginning of the film is from FANTASTIC PLANET, a French animated feature from 1973 which tells the story of humans enslaved as pets by giant blue-skinned aliens.
Roger Ebert (EBERT & ROEPER AND THE MOVIES) named THE CELL one of the 10 best films of 2000.