by Tarsem Singh
Written by Mark Protosevich
Lopez .... Catharine Deane
Vince Vaughn .... Peter Novak
Vincent D'Onofrio .... Carl Stargher
Marianne Jean-Baptiste .... Dr. Miriam Kent
Jake Weber .... Gordon Ramsey
Dylan Baker .... Henry West
James Gammon .... Teddy Lee
Patrick Bauchau .... Lucien Baines
Tara Subkoff .... Julia Hickson
Catherine Sutherland .... Anne Marie Vicksey
Jake Thomas .... Young Carl Stargher
Dean Norris .... Cole
Musetta Vander .... Ella Baines
Gerry Becker .... Dr. Cooperman
Colton James .... Edward Baines
Lauri Johnson .... Mrs. Hickson
John Cothran Jr. .... Agent Stockwell
by Julio Caro, Donna Langley (executive), Carolyn Manetti (executive),
Eric McLeod, Mark Protosevich (co-producer), Stephen J. Ross (CO-producer),
Nico Soultanakis (associate)
Original music by Howard Shore
Cinematography by Paul Laufer
Film Editing by Robert Duffy and Paul Rubell
for bizarre violence, sexual images, nudity, and language.
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perilous journey through the psyche of a murderer.
Lopez stars as a child therapist involved in a breakthrough research
program who is asked to journey inside the mind of comatose serial
killer in the hope of saving his latest victim. As she embarks on
an uncharted and perilous journey through the psyche of a murderer,
an FBI agent (Vince Vaughn) must race against time to uncover clues
that may help locate the missing girl.
Directed by the award-winning commercial and music video director
Tarsem, the film will be visually distinctive with groundbreaking
special effects. The Cell also stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Marianne
Jean-Baptiste, Dylan Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vance, Jake Weber, Patrick
Bauchau, and James Gammon. The Cell is produced by Julio Caro and
Eric McLeod from a screenplay by Mark Protosevich.
Christian baptism in water is both a symbol of the grave and re-birthing.
Carl unfortunately had a seizure while under the water and he never
experienced his full baptism. -This somehow locked him into a psychological
state of death.
by David Bruce
BLACK HORSE, A WHITE ANGEL in a SALVADOR DALI dreamscape.
The film opens with child therapist Catharine Deane (Jennifer
Lopez) in the mind of a boy trying to help him back to reality.
Symbols abound -a bleak hopeless landscape, -an angel on a journey
for truth, -a sailboat without a body of water. (This waterless
wasteland mindscape will stand in sharp contrast with the mindscape
of the serial killer, which is all about water).
CENTRAL. The journey into other people's mind is conducted
in a restricted laboratory environment. The technicians and researchers
view their experimental projects from behind a glass window. This
is in contrast to the glass tank that the serial killer views his
victims through. It is also interesting to note that this control
center is located below ground level and just outside the building
are pools of water. The parallels to the facility of the serial
killer are remarkably similar. And all of it relates to water baptism.
BY WIRES gives the body of those participating in the
journey inside the mind the
feeling of floating weightless, as if in water. In contrast to this,
in one of the opening scenes we also see a woman floating lifelessly
in a tank of water in a crucified position. She is the seventh victim
of a serial killer. Subliminally identifying her with the crucified
Christ helps us see her as an innocent
BY CHAINS. We are given a shocking view of Carl
Stargher, the serial killer, who also "floats"
above his victims through the use of chains attached to 14 steel
rings pierced though his skin. We later learn that this gives him
the feeling of floating on water.
WATER TANK. In an underground basement Carl imprisons
his female victims in a glass tank that slowly fills with water.
Anne Marie Vicksey (Catherine
Sutherland) is the 8th victim. In the Hebrew Scriptures,
circumcision happens on the 8th day. In Christian Scriptures, circumcision
corresponds to baptism. Biblically, the number 8 is the number of
new beginnings, new birth, new creation.
BAPTISM OF DEATH. When Carl was a boy he was baptized
in a river by his church. Baptism is an act that symbolizes death
and resurrection. Going down into the water is a re-enactment of
the death of Jesus Christ and coming up out of the water signifies
his resurrection. The baptismal water is both a symbol of the grave
and re-birthing. Carl unfortunately had a seizure while under the
water and he never experienced the other half of his baptism (i.e.
resurrected life, rebirth). -This somehow locked him into a psychological
state of death. He came to believe that baptizing his victim with
a baptism devoid of a resurrection would set them free. He had baptism
turned upside down. Following the death of his victims, he would
drain the water from the tank, remove the victim's body and bleach
it powder white -a symbol of purity and sinlessness. This served
as resurrection of sort into -not life- but death!
is also interesting to note that Carl's pet dog is a rare albino
(bleach white) which was purchased from a breeder in Riverside!
Clever bit of writing here.
ANNE MARIE. Shortly after abducting Anne Marie, Carl
has a stroke that puts him in a comma. It is irreversible and only
he knows where Anne Marie is. She must be found before the tank
fills and she drowns. The only way to locate her is to enter his
mind. Both Catharine
and a police detective enter Carl's mind.
WATERS AND SYMBOLS EVERYWHERE. Carl's mindscape is filled
with water and baptism images. Later, when Catharine meets the adult
Carl, the motif continues to be water centered. Note the 2 photos
below with water-drop-like jewels on Carl's collar and the ocean
theme room decorations.
WEAR COLLARS. Carl dominates his women victims, like
his dad did his mother. Carl makes unique collars for them. He controls
and rules over these unfortunate women. -They become just like his
pet albino dog. And more, he handles these women as though they
were Barbie dolls -subhuman.
TANK AS A PRISON. Catharine finds herself in a tank,
as though she were a fish. In this scene she experiences a resurrection
through the top of the tank and experiences the rapture of flight.
ADULT CARL MEETS CARL THE BOY. We discover that Carl is a complex
individual. We meet his little boy self and his adult self. It is
through the little boy that we come to understand some of his evolution
into the monster he becomes as an adult.
SELF AS THE CENTER. The room of the self is painted gold.
Carl's mind has many rooms. This is his adult-self stronghold. Catharine
finds it difficult to conquer Carl's powerful self will.
SELF IS LIKE A GOD-LIKE DEMONIC ANGEL. The 14 steel rings
in his back serve many symbolic purposes. In this scene they are
connected to yards of fabric creating the sense of demonic angel
wings. Catharine finds her self powerless to change the 'self' of
another person. And so it is.
DETECTIVE. Joining Catharine on one of her trips into
the mind of the serial killer is detective
IN SYNC. Peter confronts his own set of symbols while
in the mind of Carl. Both Catharine and Peter bring their own fantasies
and symbols with them, and these interact with those of Carl.
A VICTIM. Catharine is taken captive by Carl's strong
self. She is placed on a bed in seductive manner.
WIDOW. When Peter discovers her, she has been fitted
with a red collar, a facemask and dressed in a black lace skin-tight
gown, which gives her the appearance of a black widow. The combination
of sexuality and death. She has become the Great Whore, which will
be contrasted later with the virgin Mary.
KISS. True to the role of a black widow spider she delivers
a kiss of betrayal to Peter.
STRONG SELF CENTEREDNESS NOW TAKES PETER CAPTIVE.
INNER DEMON. This whole film is profoundly symbolic.
Carl's self-centeredness has given place to demon possession. The
satanic demon now seeks to posses Catharine. Overcome by Carl's
evil, Catharine and Peter end their session and return to the real
ROLE OF BIRDS. The vulture pictured here is, of course,
a symbol of death. There is another bird in the story that brings
us key insight. As a little boy Carl found a bird with an injured
wing. Carl's cruel father found out and Carl did not want his father
to take the bird away. "So I took the bird to the sink and
held it under the water. Better for the bird. I saved it."
With this story we now have a little insight into his criminal mind
and why he drowns women.
MINDS. In an untried procedure, Catharine brings Carl
into her mind, instead of going into his. She can control her mind
environment better. Before the transfer she focused on a picture
of Virgin Mary. The only way to bring change to a self-centered
and destructive person is through intervention of God.
ENTERS CATHERINE'S MIND AND FINDS THE VIRGIN MARY WELCOMING THE
BOY WITH OPEN ARMS. The mindscape is set in spring -the
time of new life, resurrection and death to the winter. There are
blue skies, spring blossoms, sky blue water, and even a peacock.
THE SELF. Virgin Mary turns into a black dressed angel
of death and pins Carl's dark side to the ground in a crucified
position and drives a sword into him. Transforming back to the Virgin
Mary, she now turns her attention to the innocent little boy.
ME" BEGS THE BOY. Virgin Mary picks up the boy in
a manner suggestive of the Madonna (Mary with the Child). She brings
the boy over to the baptismal font and baptizes him into his final
death. His wounded hand falls lifeless into the water. -Just like
the wounded bird so many years before. Blood and water mix -highly
symbolic. The film cross cuts with the rescue of Anne Marie from
her baptism of death. She has been resurrected to life anew.
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