Almost certainly Michael Mann’s strangest film, 1983’s The Keep is also the only one by the director of Miami Vice and Heat to never be released on DVD. As such, its two screenings at Cinefamily this Saturday, Aug. 24 (at midnight), and Sunday, Aug. 25 (10:15 p.m.) — on what the programmers enticingly describe as a “ridiculously rare” 35mm print courtesy of the British Film Institute, no less — are not to be missed.
The movie can’t always keep its many moving parts in lockstep, what with its hinted-at mythos that obscures more than it elucidates and its cast of enigmatic characters whose precise dealings with one another are never made entirely clear, but its World War II backdrop, ravishing synth score by Tangerine Dream and Third Reich mysticism make for a poppy but brooding atmosphere that in recent years has been co-opted by the likes of Drive.
In short, it’s everything you could ask of an early-’80s movie about Nazis in Romania accidentally unleashing a supernatural entity they can’t hope to control, unless that includes irony: Mann’s steady direction shows early signs (later confirmed by such works as Manhunter, the aforementioned Heat and Collateral) of his rare ability to elevate ostensibly schlocky material into something dark and majestic.
THE KEEP | Cinefamily | Aug. 24-25 | cinefamily.org
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