The film ‘The Cube’ directed by Vincenzo Natali, explores many of the key and fundamental concepts of Society and Culture. These concepts include society & culture, environment & time and power & authority. The characters in the film (Leaven, Quentin, Worth, Holloway and Kazan) experience each of these concepts and they each play a role in the outcome of the film. The concepts of society and cuture both play a major role in the characters interactions and therefore in the films outcome. When the film begins the audience quickly discovers much about the personas and values of each character in the. Quentin – a determined police officer, Leaven – a talented student, Holloway – a soft-hearted doctor and Kazan – a man with Asperger’s and Worth (who remains relatively quiet for the first part of the film) is later shown to be an intelligent but cynical architect, with little will to escape the Cube. Each of these persons contribute to the microcosmic society within the Cube. Society plays a very important role within the Cube as it is the individual’s organisation and interactions with each other that helped to shape their fates. In order to escape the Cube had to rely very heavily on each other, co-operation being one of their most viable tools.
This is proven when Quentin’s aggression and inability to co-operate results in the death of three of the characters. When the characters worked as a society, they had the most success; it was only when they refused to function as a society that they endured the most conflict. In one of the final scenes Leaven, Worth and Kazan seem to be the only surviving members. They interact positively and make it to the final cube. The culture of the people inside the Cube is called into question continually throughout the film, with the characters values and beliefs constantly being questioned by the other characters, contributing to their interaction as a society. The concept of culture allows for not only the growth, but also the demise of many of the films characters. This is made particularly clear within Holloway and Worth. Holloway is shown to be a very gentle and giving woman, especially with her treatment of Kazan, for whom she immediately assumes the role of carer as well as her offer to be the one lowered on the rope of clothes down the side of the cube. She seems to be one of the only characters who genuinely cares for the others trapped in the Cube. However, her antagonist, Quentin brings out another side of her and although provoked she says some quite cruel things. Her beliefs are also called into question when Worth presents opposing views to her conspiracy theories, which she later thanks him for, implying that her beliefs had been changed.
Worth is the character who perhaps changes the most in the film. At the beginning he is extremely negative, barely even speaking to the others. When Quentin asks what his purpose is he replies, “Often wondered that myself. I’m just a guy, I work in an office building doing office building stuff. I wasn’t exactly bursting with joie de vivre before I got here, life just sucks in general.” However throughout the course of the film his attitude changes and his will for survival grows, only to be dashed in the films final moments. Time and Environment are also prominent concepts explored within the film, being the characters most trying obstacles. The environment of the Cube is completely alien and hazardous, the characters are never certain if they are safe and much of the films storyline revolves around them trying to make sense of the environment. It is a mysterious environment, none of the characters (not even it’s architect, Worth) knowing what it is or why it is there, their theories on its’ existence never being confirmed or denied.
The environment of the cube could, in many ways, serve as a metaphor for human nature (particularly the humans inside it) being often unsteady and ever-changing and at it’s roots, confusing and violent, this is continuously reflected through the characters emotions, actions and interactions. The Cube ignites stress in those maneuvering around it as does the concept of time which, within the cube is limited (they cannot survive long without food or water) and impossible to measure. At no point are the characters aware of the amount of time they have spent inside the Cube, it could be days, perhaps even weeks (although this is unlikely as they had no food or water) or simply hours. This could be an attribute to the deteriorating mental health of some of the characters (namely Quentin). They make few references to time, even though it is clearly an issue. Power and authority play a large role in the unraveling interactions between characters and ultimately the films outcome. As the film progresses the lines are blurred between the authoritative characters and the ones following them. The primary example for this being Quentin, who takes his outside world role of a police officer as a right to exert authority over the others.
In the beginning they almost seem grateful and allow him to (as Worth says) “play hero”, however throughout the film his aggression and authoritative nature begin to turn the other characters against him and their refusal to let him dictate them turns him against them. This is made evident in the scene where Quentin drops Holloway to her death, possibly out of dislike for her but most likely because of the threat she posed to his power over the others. Quentin’s domineering nature is what leads to his, and several of the other characters deaths, much of his mental deterioration stemmed from the realisation he had no authority over any of the other characters and little use within the Cube. In conclusion, many of the key concepts of the Society and Culture course contribute to the films outcome.
Society and culture are concepts explored through the groups interactions, values and beliefs of each of the characters. Their ability to interact was vital to their survival, however with such conflicting values and beliefs, this ability was hindered. Time and Environment were two of the most trying concepts explored within the film, with the characters inability to measure time and the alien environment of the cube causing much stress and difficulty in their maneuvering through the cube, contributing to the films outcome. Power and authority are also large contributors to the films ending, with the assumption of a powerful and authoritative role causing conflict between Quentin and the other characters, resulting in his, Holloway’s, Leaven’s and Worth’s deaths. Each of these concepts help to form the films outcome.