Six strangers with no apparent connection to each other awake inside a mysterious maze-like structure. They are: a controlling but highly motivated cop (Maurice Dean Wint), a compassionate doctor (Nicky Guadagni) obsessed with conspiracy theories, an earnest and timid math student (Nicole deBoer), an escaped convict (Wayne Robson), a pessimistic architect (David Hewlett) and an autistic savant (Andrew Miller). No one knows how they got there. Their new environs consist of numerous identical rooms – cubes, fourteen feet square on each side – some of which are armed with lethal booby traps. The individual rooms shift in location and are, much like a Rubik’s cube, components of a vastly larger cube. The group bands together in an effort to survive and gradually discovers that each possesses a particular skill or trait that can aid in their escape.
This existential, sci-fi mystery thriller established director Vincenzo Natali as one of the most innovative, visually stylish and commercially aware filmmakers to come out of English Canada in quite some time. Cube was produced through the Canadian Film Centre’s Feature Film Project on a budget of $600,000 and went on to do huge business in Japan and France, where it broke all box-office records for a Canadian feature. Though it had only a brief theatrical run in Canada, it played on more than 220 screens in France – grossing nearly fifteen million dollars – and became a cult hit on the North American video market.
The film squeezed high-quality production values out of its minuscule budget and was generally praised by critics for its brilliant set design (it was filmed in one room that, through lighting, was made to look like many different rooms) and smart plotting. However, it earned equal rebukes for what some critics saw as its cheesy dialogue, limited acting and "Twilight Zone"-like concept.
Cube won numerous awards at international film festivals – including the prize for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival® – and also earned five Genie Award nominations.