Dante 01 Marc Caro

Dante 01 Marc Caro
Whether it's a heavy-handed Christian allegory or a jumbled stab at metaphysical philosophy, Dante 01 is a royal mess. At the outset, a narrator notes the importance of fairy tales, in that they teach us that dragons can be defeated. The jaded narration continues, explaining that Dante 01 is a space station orbiting a fiery hell planet where a team of scientists and psychologists perform experiments on male death row inmates who signed up to be guinea pigs for a stay of execution. A new doctor arrives on the station, bringing with her a mysterious lone survivor from a decimated space convoy. With no evidence of what happened on that ship, the mystery man is convicted of murdering the crew and put in lockdown with the other inmates, who dub him "Saint George." Poor Saint George seems to be on one huge, continual acid trip. He doesn't speak, he's prone to sweating and vomiting and every couple of minutes his entire perspective melts into an Alex Grey painting. The new doctor who brought him initiates a series of experiments on the inmates, using nanotechnology that rewrites their DNA. We're treated to weird and cheap CGI of this process, with nano darts shooting through the inmates' innards, injecting tinier-than-nano spider things into cells to do the genetic recoding. Saint George can "see" the effect of the nanobots, in the form of a weird, glowing, starfish-octopus thing surrounding the heart, and can cure his fellow inmates of the nano-infection by "eating" the luminescent starfish. That's just the tip of the weird-berg. Sense doesn't hold as much weight as a grab bag of religious mythology and blunt metaphors in Dante 01, a film populated by characters with names like Persephone, Bouddha and Moloch. Some of the core ideas are fascinating enough to warrant a curious viewing, but the overt religious symbolism and utterly brain dead architecture of the station for contrived dramatic affect is infuriating. As featureless as it is senseless, give Dante 01 a pass unless you have the aid of magic mushrooms, a forgiving logic centre and aren't prone to epilepsy. (Mongrel Media)