In Fabled, a week or so in the life of an inexplicably wealthy office drone’s life is sporadically (and bizarrely) framed by a narrated fairy tale about two men, Lupold and Ravetti, and a mysterious black beast that haunts a gothic countryside. Troubled by flashes of a crime he may or may not have committed, Joseph Fable (Go‘s Desmond Askey) starts popping pills and his escalating paranoia begins to open a hole into a mad hatter’s wonderland (a doped-up Joseph’s dog has been missing for a week, but now he thinks people are following him and suspects his ex-girlfriend may be sleeping with the psychiatrist they share). Like Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill double-header (and, to a lesser extent, Nicole Kassell’s The Woodsman), Fabled is the latest entry in an emerging genre of film that evokes the postmodern endeavors of mix CDs like DJ Shadow’s Entroducing…. From John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness to Björk’s “Possibly Maybe,” Entroducing… doesn’t just mix shit up though—it charts an awesome musical march along a historical line, from yesterday’s analog to today’s medulla-produced electronica, and every listen reveals new backstories and subtexts. While the audio-visual cacophony created by Fabled‘s F/X flashes, awesome Jack Lingo/Simple Simon soundtrack, and constant flurry of sound effects, pomo references, and dry sarcasms (“Were they Heffalumps or Woozles?” asks Alex to the fabled Joseph) is fun and successfully mirrors the lead character’s fractured state of mind (Joseph gets to even scratch a few tunes on his turntable in a number of scenes), it doesn’t demand much from its audience. Unlike a truly great paranoid thriller like Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder, Fabled not only lacks contemporary and spiritual resonance but a satisfying closer. Nonetheless, Ari Kirschenbaum groovy direction ensures it’s still good for one spin.
- Ari Kirschenbaum
- Ari Kirschenbaum
- Desmond Askew, Katheryn Winnick, J. Richey Nash, Michael Panes, Coleen Sexon, Deven May, Theo Hausen, Doug Wert, Della Askew
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: