Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Linh Dan Pham
What's it about
A wacky psychiatric ward/prison ship called Dante 01 meets up with a strange survivor of an alien encounter. Unfortunately for them, this dude named Saint Georges is a strange fellow who doesn't speak and seems to be full of strange power. He ends up getting upset when learning that inmates are to be experiments on and zaniness ensues!
Is it good movie?
What a stylish little flick. Different, strange, but stylish nonetheless. The biggest selling point for this film is its incredible visuals. I mean, there are parts of this that look like a kaleidoscope or something equally psychedelic. The budget is all on the screen here and this ship has a true sense of deep, dark and claustrophobic tension.
The acting is quite good here too, as is the characterization. The inmates aren't all drooling beasts who don't know their way around. Each one has a different personality and quirks, not to mention Lambert Wilson, who plays St. Georges. The guy's performance is hypnotic and top-notch and relies almost completely on physicality. Dominique Pinon is also worth mentioning, as he plays the prison leader. He checks in with a role that could have been scenery chewing and turns it into a grounded and realistic one. Kudos to you, sir.
As for the story, it gets pretty heavy handed by the end of it- there's a ton of religious symbolism that doesn't always work and it tends to mar the film a bit by the end of it. It tends to get a little neurotic and Kubrick-esque and feels muddled by the time it’s over.
This isn't to say that the film is bad, it is an ambitious and relatively intelligent little indie flick (which is saying a LOT for something with the Dimension Extreme branding). Sure, it's a little top heavy and the plot isn't top notch, but the good performances and interesting visuals make for a good time.
Video / Audio
Video looks to be 16 x 9 widescreen, but it's not listed anywhere. The transfer is sharp, which is important seeing as how this movie relies so much on its visual presentation.
Audio is a bit muddled; the Dolby Digital 5.1 track doesn't do the film a lot of justice. Dialogue isn't loud enough and explosions seem to take up most of this track.
There's only one feature to be found here and it was actually excellent. Aptly titled The making of Dante 01, this little gem runs about a half an hour long and features honest interviews with the cast and crew which actually add insight while showing storyboards, concept art and sfx development. Good stuff here.
How would you feel about a trailer? That's what I thought.
Although this movie wasn't exactly Event Horizon, it was different enough for me to enjoy. I dug the plot (for the most part), grooved to the visuals and thought the acting added a star to the rating. If this comes to your local video store, rent it.