celluloid as moodpiece; the keep is atmospheric phantasmagoria, an absolute field day for fans of this type of cinema. on only his second film, mann already displays the sort of visual mastery he became more well known for down the line. but he had it from the get go, from the keep and thief. tangerine dream's score is sublime, a living, breathing score that interacts with the film in incredible ways.
Okay, maybe it doesn't equal the sum of its parts, and it is pretty scattered and incomprehensible, but it has so many things going for it: Nazis, bearded Romanian men, Ian MacKellen, the Tangerine Dream soundtrack, gothic horror, great cinematography, and general craziness. I loved this movie. Apparently it was supposed to be 180 minutes. I want to see that version. But this is fun as it is.
Mann builds up a metaphor for the evil behind the Third Reich, telling us a story about a creature that is a mix of God and Hitler and is locked up in an ancient keep. Yet, it all manages to be so clumsy, so dated and so corny that one finds himself bored in the first half hour. Despite its curious visuals and story, by the end it is difficult to say what was really the intention of the film. In two words: plain bad.
The logic of Italian horror films + Tangerine Dream = A hellish yet heavenly film. It’s a genre film through and through, yet it chills the bones with its combination of visual richness (colour, fog etc.) with a theologically (and morally) driven concept. It’s clearly the product of severe editing but the dreamlike results stunned me; that it’s not on DVD makes me weep.
Watch the alternate ending here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoHldOn-i9E . A pity Michael Mann chose not to keep it. Hope to watch the uncut version someday. As it stands, I for one, really enjoyed it (I've watched it at least three times). Impeccable mood and lovely cinematography. Great music.
Extremely muddled, but also very interesting and unusual horror/fantasy effort from director Michael Mann. Stunning visuals, with great evocative cinematography and production design - but the performances are uneven, the plot incomprehensible at times, and it's certainly not without its ridiculous moments. We can only speculate on how Mann's original 3+ hours cut might have played.