Glenn from Stale Popcorn here to throw in two cents worth of discussion about the year 2000 per Nathaniel's request.
It was quite surprising to read the other day that Nathaniel Rogers had not seen Tarsem Singh's The Cell. I know he can be a bit queasy when it comes to horror, but there are quite a few cinephiles who swear by that movie as some sort of masterpiece. From two completely different ends of the spectrum there is Roger Ebert, whose four-star opinion might not hold much (much?) weight these days, but reading his four-star rave (and later top ten placement) of the time in 2000 was influential in my desire to see the film. And then there's Nick Davis' rave, which makes me sit here and scream "YES! Of course!" a lot. In my own humble opinion I say that The Cell is a stunning very-VERY almost masterpiece.
Of course, one really should experience The Cell on the big screen, but in this day and age of so many movies being released week after week that a cinephile is "expected" to see, one can't truly see them all. It's just that there's only so much our eyes can soak in when viewing on a TV (no matter the size) of Eiko Ishioka's (shamefully Oscar-snubbed) costumes, Tom Foden's production design and Paul Laufer's cinematography, which takes famed macabre artworks and turns them into cinematic nightmarish hallucinations. And it takes a cinema sound system to truly get the bombastic effect of Vincent D'Onofrio screaming "WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?" within his cacophonous chamber filled with wall-hangings masked as villainous capes.
The film has so much more in it though than pure aesthetics though. Just take a moment to think of the fact that the character played by Jennifer Lopez, a psychologist that literally enters inside the mind of patients, sees herself as a pure and kindly mother saint when we enter her mind. Or once the credits start to role, but think about how hard it is to portray pure nightmares on screen and how well Tarsem does this through his use of dialogue and pacing.
If you haven't already seen The Cell please do so. You have the ability too so why not. It's not like how Tarsem's second feature The Fall, which still hasn't even received a release here in Australia. You have no excuse! I've actually written more on the subject at Stale Popcorn so feel free to drop by.