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Retro Film Review: The Keep (1983)
The Keep (1983). Directed by Michael Mann, and based on the book by F Paul Wilson. The film is set in Romania, 1941. Romania has allied with the Germans, and a detachment of German soldiers decide to barrack in an ancient keep that lies on the edge of a village. The caretaker of the keep warns the German Captain (Jurgen Prochnow) that they shouldn't stay there, but can't give much explanation as to why. The keep itself is a peculiar structure lined with silver crosses. Two of the soldiers decide to try and steal one of the crosses, and when they spot a second cross behind the first they try to retrieve that as well. They unwittingly create an opening into a vast antechamber below. The Keep is an odd choice for Michael Mann, as with the exception of The Last of the Mohicans (1992) he has stuck to films set in a contemporary setting. Even then, it is the only film Mann has directed which has a supernatural theme. It is full of Mann's trademarks though, with a striking contemporary (for the time) soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, along with a strong focus on characters and visuals. The film has some stand out actors with the aforementioned Jurgen Prochnow in fine form, Gabriel Byrne as an SS officer, Ian McKellen as a Jewish historian, and Scott Glenn as a mysterious stranger. The story is not particularly complex, but for those who like Mann's style the rest is filled with atmosphere and visuals. I first strayed across The Keep shortly after its terrestrial TV release, on what must have been something like a late night BBC2 showing. I was immediately captured by the strange story along with Mann's trademark style, and subsequently have seen it a handful of times. I was a big fan of Mann's infrequently released films until the noughties, when suddenly his films didn't interest me at all (with the exception of the somewhat maligned Miami Vice (2006)). I recommend it for those who like an unusual and slightly gory ghost story, and who can cope with the 80s soundtrack. 5/5 (Excellent)

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Seriously!! this is a film!! How can I not know this. I have the book this is based on.. Bloody brilliant novel

Quite different to the book I suspect (and the author didn't like the film).

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