Movie Review

The Cell

His Mind Is Her Prison.
The Cell Movie Poster

US Release Date: 08-18-2000

Directed by: Tarsem Singh


  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Catherine Deane
  • Colton James
  • Edward Baines
  • Dylan Baker
  • Henry West
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste
  • Dr. Miriam Kent
  • Gerry Becker
  • Dr. Barry Cooperman
  • Musetta Vander
  • Ella Baines
  • Vincent D'Onofrio
  • Carl Rudolph Stargher
  • Vince Vaughn
  • FBI Agent Peter Novak
  • Jake Weber
  • Special Agent Gordon Ramsey
  • Tara Subkoff
  • Julia Hickson
  • Catherine Sutherland
  • Anne Marie Vicksey
  • Pruitt Taylor Vince
  • Dr. Reid
  • Jake Thomas
  • Young Carl Rudolph Stargher
  • Dean Norris
  • Cole
  • Peter Sarsgaard
  • Julia Hickson's Fiancee
  • James Gammon
  • Teddy Lee
  • R. Lee Ermey
  • Carl Rudolph Stargher's Former Drill Sergeant
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: August 20th, 2000
Jennifer Lopez in The Cell.

Jennifer Lopez in The Cell.

Back in the sixties a gorgeous Latin babe lightened her hair color and ran through a silly film full of special effects. The babe was Raquel Welch, and the movie was the near cult status film, A Million Years BC. The only thing that is really memorable from that picture, is the leading lady in a fur bikini.  It made Welch a star. 

In The Cell, Latin babe Jennifer Lopez, with lightened hair, runs through a silly film full of special effects. Unfortunately, she forgot the fur bikini. There is nothing memorable about this movie. I am not sure what this film will do for Jennifer Lopez's career in the long run.

Lopez plays a child psychiatrist who, through technology, is able to enter someone's dreams. She attempts to help out the FBI by entering the mind of a sick, and I stress sick, serial killer in hopes of finding out where he has stashed his latest victim. The whole plot is just an excuse to get to the special effects, weird sets, and costumes.  Many of the dream sequences are elaborate and over-the-top, yet none are all that imaginative.

The plot is predictable with Lopez wandering the grandiose mind of a killer.  The dreams are visually the best parts of the film but we know where they are all headed.  They also give Lopez a chance to dress in wild costumes, but sometimes less is more.  Nothing she wears is as memorable as Welch in a fur bikini.

Reviewed on: June 30th, 2015
Jennifer Lopez in The Cell.

Jennifer Lopez in The Cell.

While I agree with Eric that nothing Jennifer Lopez wears in this movie is as iconic as Raquel Welch in that fur bikini, I'm not sure what the two movies have to do with each other. The Cell is your standard serial killer thriller, with the twist being that much of the action takes place inside the killer's mind. As my brother wrote, this allows for some interesting visuals, many of which were based on the work of other artists, ranging from paintings to music videos. Director Tarsem Singh may have meant this as an homage but to my mind the art department crossed the line separating inspiration from imitation.

A young Vince Vaughn plays your typical gumshoe hot on the trail of the madman. He may not completely embarrass himself but his rather limited range is stretched to its limit. Jennifer Lopez isn't much better. As an actress she looks amazing. There's no denying her glamorous old-time movie star appeal but she's at her best when she doesn't have lines to deliver (I'm beginning to understand the comparison to Welch).

This movie also brings up two opposing points of view. While inside his mind, the Jennifer Lopez character meets the innocent little boy side of the serial killer. She witnesses moments of extreme abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. She believes this is what caused Carl Rudolph Stargher to become a sadomasochistic serial killer. Later on, during a conversation with her, Vince Vaughn's detective disagrees, pointing out the fact that others have endured even worse punishment without becoming inhuman monsters.

That's about as deep as this movie gets. As I said before The Cell is a run of the mill thriller with a fairly intriguing twist that allows for some evocative imagery. At times it's stunningly beautiful and at other times seems like an excuse for sneaking torture porn into a mainstream movie. It contains several disgustingly disturbing scenes. Not for the squeamish.