Film Review: Dante 01 (2008)

SYNOPSIS:

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.

REVIEW:

“Dante 01″ is a science fiction in space drama with a “Solaris” sort of tempo. A highly technological expedition of human psyche under watchful eye. The entire film is shot within this space structure as they continue there assigned orbits.

The premise of the film is the observation of 7 volunteer criminals to participate in an isolated detention center sector of a space station allowed to roam free within with the intent of being subjected as human guinea pigs in their interactions. Dante is the planet they are orbiting while they conduct their studies. The criminals consist of 7 former offenders by the names of Rasputin, Moloch, Lazarus, Buddha, Caesar, Attila and the ever so quiet Saint George.

The ship’s upper deck officers consist of Charon, Elisa, and Persephone as the main occupants in charge of the ships functions and observations. In a sense this watcher/participant scenario is much like the film “Cube” by comparison. Their sole purpose is to observe and intervene only when need be. That need comes in the aid of temporary gassing to knock out the occupants so they can intermingle and attend to needs.

Beyond that, the prisoners are left to there own accord and somewhat political interactions to keep order in tact. While that idea seems prudent, each of these men are hardened criminals as well with large body counts behind them. That alone is a source of tension in there day to days.

The choice of character names is indeed interesting and perhaps a intended play on characters from the poem by the name of Dante’s Inferno. Other than that there really isn’t any relation to the journey of the 9 levels of hell.

As it is mentioned, the action really didn’t change much till the liaison with Shuttle #2 in which 2 occupants “Elisa” and the criminal they self named “Saint George” arrived. Elisa is on an official mission to harness and test her nanotechnology methods on the subjects to report back to her base Neurinos. While the testing deems results within the subjects, they suffer side effects of excruciating pain as a result. The almost mute Saint George appears to harness a special ability to heal in which he is able to extract the pain and consume it. This messiah like ability causes friction within the ranks.

When Attila tries to sabotage the mission, he sets the ship on a course to crash into the planet they orbit. Though it will take all aboard to keep them from certain doom.

While all this probably sounds pretty out there, the intent I got from this film was to truly capture a science fiction experience. Further watching reveals that it is more about harnessing the interaction of occupants who in the face of destruction bond together for salvation and a higher purpose.

Directed by Marc Cairo “Dante 01″ is a unique experiment of a film with some highly visual experiences interwoven. The experience is a desired taste that I think some will love and others will walk away in anticipation of something more daunting and striking.

I will say it is a different experience than the sort of films that Dimension Extreme has been putting out. With most of their titles falling into horror genre mixes, Dante 01 will surely please lovers of sci-fi expeditions. The pace is somewhat lethargic but balanced by crew interaction. Close attention though is required to take in the full extent of the film. While I tried to make instant comparisons, a good analogy would be the voyage of “Solaris” with the human interaction of “Cube”. If that sounds like your cup of tea then I’d say have it.

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