The Keep

The Keep

"For once, you're right, Kaempffer. I'm only half a man. All that we are is coming out, here in this keep."

You get the feeling you should be watching something better than this, something more cohesive or more well-written, but because Michael Mann takes The Keep so seriously, it escapes the schlock label only to wander into the strange limbo in between. It's not a 'bad' movie or one of those joke B-grade things, but it's not very good either. Almost but not quite, but geez does it look and sound so good that at some point, you ignore the gripes and accept the vibes instead.

The Keep is a lot of things. It's Nazi fanaticism as horror, soldiers pitted against each other in a twisting fight of ideologies, one extremely good fuck, and the workings of an ancient demon to kill all the bad ones while turning the rest of the innocents insane. There are many things at work in the movie, including a smoother story. It loses its focus along the way, yet most of the meat sits squarely focused on the nature of evil and the depths man will sink to for the things they believe in.

It's so easy to want to like The Keep: like poor Otto and Lutz, there are a lot of things about it that make it hard to look away. But the longer it stays there, the faster the floor is pulled out from under you and you find yourself staring at an empty abyss; until all that's left is the smoke and the underwhelming reveal lurking within it.

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