This film poses the disquieting question after a sufficiently unnerving pause. Its mise en scène is a horizontally and vertically divided arena where conspiracy theory meets a more insidious reality. The characters are spontaneously generated in this partitioned space, and the viewer is invited to follow them as they make their way through a potentially lethal maze according to their progressively refined methods of navigation.
The monolithic structure of the title is an arrangement of numbered rooms of different colors on a frame that is twenty-six rows across, columns deep, and floors high. Every room can be accessed by means of a single door in any of the walls, floors, or ceilings. Six characters dressed in prison style uniforms assemble in one room by coincidence after having made their way between some of the interconnecting rooms alone. Most have learned from the extent of their progress that a proportion of rooms are more dangerous owing to the presence of snares. None of them however know why they are there, or what they have been taken from their ordinary lives and put in the rooms to answer for. They form a coalition with the aim of escaping the apparent incarceration under various schemes intended to help avoid the traps.
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Directed by Vincenzo Natali
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