The Keep (1983)

dir. Michael Mann. A true cult movie. Based on a book of the same name, it’s about Nazi soldiers in Romania during WW2, uncovering an ancient evil, and turning to a Jewish professor for help. Michael Mann’s second feature, after the superior THIEF (1981), starring James Caan. Both films have wonderful atmospheric soundtracks from band Tangerine Dream. Sadly, the VFX artist Wally Veevers died before the film was completed, so Mann finished the VFX himself, and they have not aged well. Mann was also forced to simplify the ending, and cut the film running time in half. Probably due to these setbacks, the film was never released in HD or Blu-Ray, so the only edition available is a low quality VOD or DVD release. The very low quality video, combined with the almost incomplete production make it a hard film to recommend. That said, there are some wonderful performances by Ian McKellen as the Jewish professor, Gabriel Byrne as the slick haired S.S. Commander, and Jürgen Prochnow (DAS BOOT (1981)), as the Wehrmacht captain. Fans of MANDY (2018), will notice more than one inspiration in THE KEEP.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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