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Deep space, at the edge of the galaxy. The future. A new prisoner arrives on top security prison ship and psychiatric research unit Dante 01. Sole survivor of an encounter with an alien force beyond imagining, Saint Georges is a man possessed by inner demons, caught up in the battle to control the monstrous power within him. It's a power that will infect the other highly dangerous occupants of Dante 01, gaolors and prisoners alike, unleashing a violent rebellion that turns this terrifying, labyrinthine world upside down. In the otherworldly hell of the ship's depths, through danger and redemption, each must journey to his very limits... each must confront his own Dragon. Written by
Any fan of the imagination rich City of Lost Children and Delicatessen should know that both were helmed by Jean Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. Jeunet has gone solo and done magnificently for himself with films like A Very Long Engagement. And now Mr. Caro steps into the director chair alone. For fans of said above films, getting the chance to see a new film by either is like asking me if I would like some Mountain Dew. God, yes!
The picture revolves around a space station which is being used as psychiatric prison that consists of a population of 7 prisoners and a team of 5 employees. At the beginning of the film a new scientist and a mysterious new patient is brought aboard the ship. With these two the station begins unraveling from it's normal routines and begins heading into violent and unbelievable territories. The crew begins arguing with one another because of the new scientist's ideals and orders, while the prisoners are freaking out due to the new prisoners nature and abilities. With everything coming to ahead the prison is beginning to fall apart.
From what I can gather from the other reviews this film is pretty much hit or miss. I'm on the side who dug it. The film more than anything is very familiar in the sense that you know it's directed by Caro. It's stylish with great camera shots and it has an atmosphere that oozes scifi prison. And with familiar actors from past Jeunet and Caro films like Mr. Pinon, there's no complaining whatsoever in the acting department. The writing itself is also very good. It's well thought out, interesting and intelligent. Caro and Jeunet are always great at delivering good dialogue and this is no different.
My issue with the film lies within the story itself. The film plays mostly like a mystery. The new scientist is doing experiments on the prisoners and you obviously know it's pretty inhumane, but you don't (me, I didn't) ever grip exactly what's going on with the treatments. And with our mysterious prisoner, you do by the end understand who he is and what he's about (kinda), but up to this point it's very up in the air. And there are a few scenes when the scientists are talking among each other where the movie begins to drag a little bit. Nevertheless, the movie plays out in an intriguing fashion with more than enough things going on that kept this viewer happy and entertained.
I see some pretty petty gripes some people are having with the film concerning symbolism and that it felt like it wasn't long enough. I do agree with the length issue because it seemed the movie would have benefited with a tad more explanations. But the symbolism issue is solely based on that person's issue with beliefs. That stuff bothers you, then you'll have an issue. Doesn't bother me in the slightest.
Dante 01 overall is a unique, interesting film with a fantastic look and feel, but it does feel like it could have been much better. With that said I enjoyed it and this flick should definitely be seen by all fans of Caro.
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