Sunday, November 28, 2010

A minor classic that could have been major

Able Danger is an interesting independent thriller directed by Dave Herman and written by Paul Kirk and Erin Joslyn which follows Tom Flynn as he attempts to discover the truth behind the September 11th attacks.

Able Danger

The film opens with a series of quotes, such as on the need for 'a new Pearl Harbor,' and references, such as The Maltese Falcon, a mystery woman in a cab and Tom on his bike headed to the Vox Pop Cafe & Bookstore he owns. These various strands will play out throughout the movie.

Tom is a character similar to real-life journalist Daniel Hopsicker, digging where others prefer not to look, pursuing when others give up. And it could have made for a gripping film classic but instead ends up a superior B-movie.

Why not a classic?

Immaturity on the part of the film maker.

If this were 1964, the males among us might elbow one another and drool over the boobies introduced early on and the women might stay silent. But it's not 1964 and, point of fact, when a man's getting a blow job and is shot to death in the back of his head, he doesn't tuck his penis back in his boxers. So in other words, we're showing a woman naked (on top of a man) because that's natural but when a man's standing up and getting a blow job in public, we no longer care about natural.

It's that kind of 'thinking' that results in the "MLIF" 'poster' of Sarah Palin at the blog to the film's official website. Sarah Palin had what to do with 9-11 and f**king or not f**king her has what to do with her 2008 vice-presidential run?

Not a damn thing.

But it does go to the sexism and immaturity of the film makers. As does Tom oh-so-sensitive for this world characterization while the women are bitches. For the record, Humphrey Bogart's characters weren't playing at tough, they were tough.

You could overlook some of the above if the film built to a satisfying and true ending; however, it doesn't.

Not since the final ten minutes of Mo' Better Blues has a director so strongly demonstrated no grasp of how to wrap things up. Oh, look, the main character is happy. Oh, look, the main character is dead. Oh, wait, it's not the end of the film still. Still.

A movie needs to build towards a natural end. Not several endings. The film's not complex enough to justify it and all the final ending does is weaken all that came before as it attempts to stamp a happy face on everything. It's as if Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway show up at the end of 3 Days of the Condor making snow angels in Central Park.

Besides being the wrong tone to go out on for a movie aspiring to film noir, it's also true that an ending wraps things up. An ending is not a marathon for the audience to endure.

Able Danger's final ending is hokum and it's really sad that the director thinks he's 'quoting' Pulp Fiction (check the official website and videos posted to the blog) and marvel over the fact that the film maker appears unaware that Quentin Tarantino was nodding to/stealing from Robert Aldrich's 1955 film Kiss Me Deadly.

Adam Nee as Thomas Flynn and Elina Lowensohn deliver strong performances but Lowensohn's better served in another thriller, Fay Grim, written and directed by Hal Hartley and starring Parker Posey.

If you'd like to visit the film's website, feel free, but everytime we went there, our AVG Virus program went off informing us that there were viruses. But feel free to visit Able Danger if you're so inclined. We think you'd be better off ignoring the website and streaming the film at Netflix.
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