The Cell only hints at greatness, copping out when it ought to be diving in. The filmmakers suffer from a bad case of cinematic interruptus, yanking us out of Carl's head at those moments when we want to see more. They set up grand possibilities (it's likely FBI agent Novak also suffered child abuse) without letting them pay off. And they solve their mystery in such hack fashion it seems like an afterthought, or an unaired episode of The Profiler. The Cell is disappointing only because its best moments are transcendent; its worst moments, sadly, are just so ordinary.
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