The Keep Nazis are sent to guard an old, mysterious fortress in a Romanian pass. One of them mistakenly releases an unknown force trapped within the walls. A mysterious stranger senses this from his home in Greece and travels to the keep to vanquish the force. As soldiers are killed, a Jewish man and his daughter (who are both knowledgeable of the keep) are brought in to find out what is happening.
Beautiful, haunting yet flawed masterpiece
The Keep Michael Mann’s The Keep is a haunting, beautiful, and very underrated film. It’s major flaw is the tragic fact that roughly two hours of footage was butchered from it to slice it down to it’s one hour and forty minute length. Had the film been allowed to be released in it’s entirety initially I think it’s critical and audience reception would have been far better, and it would be considered. One of Mann’s classics, such as Heat or The Last Of The Mohicans.
Enough about the films drawbacks. I believe it to be Mann’s finest film, for a number of reasons. The soundtrack is the chief reason, composed by Tangerine Dream, whose very musical presence in any film is a plus, giving an unparallelled ambiance and haunting atmosphere. Their score is mainly driving , rhythmic beats, with long interludes of chilling synth passages, it personifies the mysterious tone of the story perfectly. The plot itself follows a book by F. Paul Wilson, but again the heavy edits to the film make it very different from the novel. The KeepThe story starts off with a group of German soldiers arriving at a sketchy, fog shrouded Romanian keep high in the mountains, to scout for possible vantage locations or something. They almost immediately realize its not a place you want to sleep overnight in, and soon they are being stalked and murdered by an unseen paranormal menace from ancient times. Eventually a Nazi death squad arrives to restore order, which they are highly unsuccessful in doing, after which they call on a Jewish professor of medieval history and his daughter To see what they might know. The Keep
Jurgen Prochnow plays the German, captain wonderfully, not just type cast in his usual German psycho cliché role, but actually playing a real human being with conflict and compassion. Gabriel Byrne is adequately nasty as the sadistic Nazi officer, and Ian Mckellan explosive and passionate as the professor. Alberta Watson gives a strikingly beautiful performance as Eva and is a very underrated actress, showing stunning depth, emotion and heartbreak in her role. The Keep
I feel that this film has been given an unfair and hurried critique by far too many people, and that it should be praised and remembered more than it has been not for it’s unfortunate shortcomings, but for it’s amazing soundtrack, acting, visuals and storytelling.