(director/writer: Michael Mann; screenwriters: Dennis
Clark/based on the F. Paul Wilson novel;
cinematographer: Alex Thomson; editor: Dov
Hoenig; music: Tangerine Dream;
Scott Glenn (Glaeken Trismegestus), Alberta Watson (Eva Cuza), Jurgen Prochnow (Captain Klaus Woermann), Robert Prosky (Father Fonescu), Gabriel Byrne (Major Kaempffer), Ian McKellen (Dr. Cuza);Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Gene Kirkwood/Howard W. Koch Jr; Paramount; 1983-UK/USA)
|"What the disappointing
nevertheless fascinating visual film never
clears up is all the confusion it leaves us
by Dennis Schwartz
war drama on evil, fixated on the Golem legend, is
based on the novel by F. Paul Wilson. Assured
filmmaker Michael Mann ("Blackhat"/"Public
Enemies"/"Miami Vice") stylishly directs, with an eye
to the occult, and co-writes it with Dennis Clark. The
filmmaker is inspired by German film
historian Siegfried Krakauer, who in his book, From
Caligari to Hitler, traces the fascist mindset and
the contradictory early German expressionist
movement in film as a possible inspiration for
fascism. The dated music coming from Tangerine
Dream has more pits in it than can be digested.
1941, during World War II, a Nazi squad
led by the good anti-Fascist German, Captain
Prochnow), occupy a small
Romanian village near the Carpathian Mountains. They
unwittingly release an evil force in the castle 'keep'
called Molasar, buried deep in the ancient stone
fortress that is now used by the Nazis as their
headquarters. The unseen force, released within the
castle, mysteriously eats the soldiers one by one.
help explain the untranslatable ancient writing found
in the Keep, the Nazis bring their cranky oldster
concentration camp Jewish prisoner scholar, Professor
Cuzu (Ian McKellen, to the site. Also brought there is
his sexy young daughter Eva (Alberta Watson). When the
Nazis rape her, the evil monster saves her from the
thugs and makes friends with her and her
dad--promising permanent protection from the evil
Nazis. It's that kind of an inane film.
make sure the monster is not released from the 'keep,'
the humanoid, a mysterious traveller, Glaeken
Trismegestus (Scott Glenn), arrives on
the scene and deems it his mission in life to save the
day from such evil forces. To be the hero he must
sleep with Eva, supposedly a ritual needed to sate the
Nazi of note is Gabriel Byrne, who hams it up playing
a sadistic SS officer. His SS men come to the aid of
Captain Klaus's men and live it up acting as you would
expect perverted Nazis to act.
the disappointing nevertheless fascinating visual film
never clears up is all the confusion it leaves us
with. Seemingly headed in the direction of being an
eerie and mind-blowing sci-fi horror story, it shifts
gears and instead becomes superficially tantric.
REVIEWED ON 8/21/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ