Cube...The Missed Opportunities...
First I want to start off by saying that Cube was an excellent film. From the opening sequence...
Through all the paranoia, fear and mathematics, this was a well rounded, thought out venture. The idea that each piece of the cube was constructed by so many different people and no one knew what the end product would be or who was actually building it, was brilliant. The special effects were done very well for the relatively low independent budget and the acting was excellent. Everything about this movie came together to create a landscape of dread, claustrophobia, mistrust and fear.
As you can tell, I loved the film, but...the ending just missed the mark. I fully understand the idea of leaving a movie ending open-ended for possible sequels and also to allow the viewers to speculate on what happens next.
For those purposes, the ending was interesting. But, to me, it felt rushed. At the time the movie came out, I was an employee of a major chain video store and the number 1 complaint I got from people was about how quick the ending was.
As a one-time film maker myself, these are some ideas I had, that I felt might have made the ending a little more definite or interesting and given the viewers more things to mull over.
1. Heaven And Hell
Upon walking though the long hallway and opening the doors, he finds himself welcomed by a host of lost spirits and it is further explained that he was in Hell and has finally made it to Purgatory.
This would make the movie a very interesting interpretation of Hell and leave it open for what could have been the sequel of him trying to get to Heaven.
This kind of ending for movies is often my first thought because I find ruminations on the nature and existence of Heaven and Hell very interesting. The mythology is there for the film maker to mold and shape into very metaphysical examinations of the meaning of life, what consequences our actions have on our afterlife (all the people in the film at some point worked for some evil corporation to build the cube and found their comeuppance through the cube) and what things we can potentially do to move on. There is a lot of weight to these subjects and when I see films that ask similar questions (or imply them), I find myself musing about the possibilities.
Upon walking through the long hallway and opening the doors, he finds a small room with only a single elevator. A single button next to it that reads "UP". He presses the button and the doors open. He then steps inside and after what seems an eternity, the doors open once again to a well lit room, almost blindingly white.
He enters the room and the elevator doors shut behind him. Fear and paranoia set back in as there are no other exits visible in the room. Suddenly the lights dim and the walls begin to light up only to reveal that he is now at the beginning of another cube and his journey to escape is beginning once more, but this time, the rules have changed.
This ending would have made the viewer realize that the cube was not the only one and that there is no escape, or at least not an easy one.
It could have also been a metaphorical view on life. People often find themselves in a rut.
Sleep, eat, work, eat, sleep....
Often people recognize the rut for what it is and try to change it. They find a new job, find a new mate or find a new location to make things better but then after a bit, realize that while things are definitely different, the routine and blandness of life have crept back in.
When these types of metaphors are done correctly in films, it will make the viewer ponder the purpose of life and what we are doing. Why am I here? What's this life for? What is the meaning of life? Heavy subject matter.
If a viewer is still thinking about a movie for weeks, months or even years later, the film maker has done their job. Making the viewer question their own existence, that is next level shit....
3. No Way Out
Upon walking through the long hallway and opening the doors, the viewer is blinded by a very bright white light. When things come back into focus, the camera angle is close up to the top of his head and begins to slowly pan out, moving up to reveal a landscape of snow and ice. It continues to get higher and higher and eventually pans out till we see the Earth and can recognize that he was in the middle of the Arctic Circle. Then just a quick close to black and end credits.
This ending was my first thought upon the closing of the film and the way that i was speculating it would end.
I feel this would have been the best ending. It would have made the film finite. It also would have made the viewer realize that there is no way out, even if you can figure out all the tricks, it does not matter. The man is clearly not dressed for or equipped for survival in this kind of environment. (By equipped, I am referring to gear and supplies, not mental capacity). All the people in the cube had used there shoes at some point to try to determine if the next room was safe to enter. Besides that, they just had what appeared to be hospital scrubs on. These are not situations one wants to find themselves in when you are in the middle of the Arctic Circle.
The idea that no one gets out is not even metaphorical, it is literal. The Doors said it best with no one here gets out alive. It is true. This life ends in death, whether it is in the midst of the cube by lasers dicing you up, or by freezing to death in the snow and ice of the Arctic. Making a viewer think about there own mortality is brilliant. The best scary/horror films make things evident that they could happen to you. They are real. Now obviously, I realize that we don't all have the events in life that would land us in the cube but the fact that we can not survive this life can be overwhelming to most.
These are my thoughts on the ending of the film Cube. Again, it is an excellent film and I highly recommend it if you have not seen it. For those who have their own thoughts on the ending or just think that my points are, well, pointless, please chime in, the comments section is open.