Dante 01 (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Dante 01</strong> (2008)

(On DVD, August 2010) It’s surprising how quickly promise can turn to pretention: While the first minutes of Dante 01 promise a stylish horror/SF hybrid set on an isolated space station (one that is dedicated to hosting mentally unstable criminals, no less), this promise soon turns to nonsense as the pseudo-profound dialogue piles up and the film devolves into repetitive hocus-pocus.  With acclaimed cinematographer Marc Caro directing and writing (along with French SF writer Pierre Bordage), it’s no surprise if the film often looks interesting: Despite what feels like a small budget, there are a few interesting visual ideas in the mix.  Sadly, they are not founded on anything nearly as interesting in terms of story: The protagonist is sort of a mute/amnesic magical mystery box with powers that pop up whenever needed, precipitating (after many repetitive cycles) a ridiculously overlong metaphysical ending that really wants to echo 2001: A Space Odyssey without deserving it.  The last two minutes are a loop of three sequences (two of them mirrored) repeated over and over again in the hope to pummel the audience in an unquestioning stupor.  It’s… daring, but it doesn’t work, much like the convoluted freshman-grade hellish references that pepper the script, or the dull jabs at a corporate medical conspiracy.  As far as SF/horror hybrids go, Dante 01 isn’t even as good as Supernova, let alone anything better.  Its visual polish ensure that it’s not completely uninteresting, but home viewers may find themselves gravitating toward more interesting things to do while the film repeats itself tediously over 90 minutes.

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