Dante 01

"Weak"

Dante 01 Review


Murky and brooding, Marc Caro's Dante 01 is a sci-fi phantasmagoria that wouldn't look out of place in a Clive Barker fever dream. As the film's character and place names suggest (all echoing Dante Alighieri's epic poem, The Inferno), Dante 01 is less about sci-fi action than overdrawn religious allegory.

Dante is a hellish planet (its surface a crackling fire-and-brimstone concoction) in deepest space. Around it orbits a psychiatric facility housing a handful of criminally insane patients, several physicians, and three armed guards. Everyone on the ship (which resembles a golden cross made out of Rubik's cubes) has had their head shaved and slinks around in almost complete darkness. The docs, manning computer screens and a device called the Answerer, experiment on patients who live in a warren of sterile steel corridors in the bowels of the ship. There are a multitude of sub-plots swirling in the miasma: a new doctor, Elisa (Linh Dan Phan), with an experimental nanobot-infused drug, a conspiracy between "warden" Charon (Gérald Laroche), and his prize patient, the hacker Atilla (Yann Collette), an aging (perhaps unstable) lead physician, Persephone (Simona Maicanescu), and a new patient (mute at first and dubbed Saint-Georges, the dragon slayer, played by Lambert Wilson) who can "see" parasites affecting the patients and is either, as the ad copy put its, "a monster or a messiah."

Director Caro enjoyed a distinguished career as an acclaimed comic book writer (writing for comics like Metal Hurlant, the original Heavy Metal adult comic magazine) and a short film maker/animator before teaming up with fellow sci-fi fan Jean-Pierre Jeunet and making the breakout films Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. The directing team split after Alien Resurrection, the fourth entry in the Alien film franchise and Jeunet/Caro's first brush with Hollywood. While Jeunet went on to make the successful Amelie (followed by A Very Long Engagement), Caro focused on art direction and animation and reportedly wanted to make this film for quite some time.

There are some marvelous sequences in Dante 01 that may thrill Jeunet/Caro fans (as well as add a little something new to the gothic sci-fi genre): the literal defrosting of Saint-Georges, Saint-Georges' "visions" of the parasites (he eats them when he finds them), and a dive into a cooling tank. However, the film is far from perfect. With an overly oppressive atmosphere and a choppy script, the film is as almost neurotic as its leads. And Caro juggles far too many themes, each with diminishing results: the film starts with a Dante myth, morphs into a standard Poe-inspired "who's really the crazy one here?" story, and closes with a 2001-inspired Christ tale.

Due to a fairly low budget and some reported behind-the-scenes problems, the film looks cheaper than it should (perhaps the reason it's so un-lit). And it's likely some of these budget constraints can also explain several loose threads and the film's non-ending. A failed (though ambitious) experiment in mystical sci fi horror, Dante 01 emerges from its very long gestation to resemble nothing so much as a poorly translated Heavy Metal comic strip.



Dante 01

Facts and Figures

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd January 2008

Budget: $8M

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: StudioCanal, Eskwad, Wild Bunch, Canal+, CinéCinéma, Région Ile-de-France, Conseil Régional des Pays de la Loire

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Saint-Georges, as Elisa, Simona Maicanescu as Perséphone, as César, Bruno Lochet as Bouddha, François Levantal as Lazare, François Hadji-Lazaro as Moloch, Lotfi Yahya Jedidi as Raspoutine, as Attila, as BR, Antonin Maurel as CR, Gérald Laroche as Charon

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.