Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Keep

I managed to get my hands on a copy of The Keep by Michael Mann and I had a great time watching it. The keep is an abandoned citadel in Romania that gets occupied by German forces during WWII, only to have the soldiers die in gruesome ways due to a demon that has been awakened.

The cast is impressive: J├╝rgen Prochnow, Ian McKellen, Scott Glenn and a ridiculously young Gabriel Byrne. I'm not sure they really had a clue what they were doing in that movie and I had no idea Ian McKellen had it in him to overact so badly. But there are many enjoyable scenes there, especially with Prochnow and Byrne whose characters clash over politics and pretty much everything else.
There are also many cringeworthy scenes, whenever the demon appears for example. It works well as long as you don't actually see anything, but once it materialises, I couldn't help giggling. My favourite scene is the one where Gabriel Byrne screams like a girl upon discovering the dead bodies of his men, which you get to see here at about 3 minutes in.

The citadel steals the show, though. It's a very imposing, menacing building and it would be awesome as a setting for a D&D or Cthulhu adventure. You can get a fairly good look at it in this trailer. It's a place that growls at you to stay away, but at the same time you're drawn to it.

The music by Tangerine Dream, the weird story and the intriguing visuals all come together to make this film memorable, despite its many failings. I wish there was a director's cut: there are about two hours missing, which explains many sudden jumps in the story. Maybe someday - I'd buy it!

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