Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Able Danger: Conspiracy Noir

I enjoyed watching and can highly recommend "Able Danger" a film by Paul Krik aka David Herman, that is an entertaining concoction of film noir, 9/11 conspiracy politics, and dark knowledge, with a Flatbush flavor. Ably acted by Adam Neer and Elina Lowensohn and creatively imaged by director of photography Charles Libin, Able Danger is pop conspiracy with a sexy rock n roll twist, if wanna you believe that hipsters may hold the key to the secrets of the universe, and who knows, perhaps they do. The focus on VoxPop and the featuring of VoxPop owner/gonzo journalist Sander Hicks' book "The Big Wedding" as a key document in the film gives it a wry twist. And the Able Danger tracking system which follows hero Tom Flynn on his mysterious errands as he tries to unlock the key to government conspiracies is a fascinating conceit that makes this film fun to watch. But it is hard to figure out whether the director's intent is to blow the lid off of the secrets of 9/11 and spread the information more or less sub rosa in the guise of an alternately serious and comic indy film, or if he is just using 9/11 as a handy narrative coil around which to fashion an arty and entertaining flick.This was playing around 9/11/08 at the Pioneer theater in the East Village. The marketing with 9/11 is a bit irksome, since I met and grew up with some of NY's bravest who were 9/11 casualties. This also explains the late appearance of this review. Whether the director thinks that it is necessary to feed us our conspiracy theory with a spoonful of sugar is likewise hard to figure. It is a twisted, dark, ultimately predictable little indy, but with enough pop sensibility, quirky flair, scenery chewing and local color to make it a very interesting 87 minutes with definite cult-film potential.

Yet rather than uncovering or revealing secrets about 9/11, while Able Danger does what it can, ultimately the film's message appears to suggest that enough time has elapsed since that grim day that it can be the subject of ultimately entertaining films, even to the gorgeous sunlight-suffused dream sequence shots of the film's hero on the roof of a WTC-ish tower that ultimately can portend no good.

Able Danger is a film worth seeing that deserves a wider audience. Perhaps truth, mingled with fiction, can reveal something worth knowing about the operations of power and the state, past and future. At the same time, as it ineters the popular culture, it can blend more easily with urban myth, rumors and dreams. Ultimately, Able Danger may unwittingly suggest that the secrets of 9/11 have been locked up good and tight, if not by conspiracy, then by the passage of time. And they may remain secrets, truths, that may never be uncovered.

http://www.abledangerthemovie.com/

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Current Reading

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