19 April 2013 | rooprect
Best paranoia movie since Rear Window
"Fabled" is a stylish, complex psychological thriller that makes me think this is the kind of stuff Hitchcock would be doing if his life and career had been extended another 30 years. If you like tense, artistic mindbenders like the Aronofsky films "Pi" and "Black Swan", or the works of Korean director Ji-woon Kim like "A Tale of Two Sisters", or some of the David Lynch puzzlers like "Mulholland Drive", then this is for you.
I guarantee it won't make complete sense immediately, but instead it presents a nice puzzle that'll have you thinking for a long time afterwards. What separates it from the classic mindbenders is that the plot itself isn't the puzzle you're expected to solve, but rather the challenge is to figure out the film's meaning through symbolism, theme, and so on. For example, there are certain recurring ingredients which are not integral to the story, but they definitely mean something: a scrap of paper stuck to the main character's shoe, odd flashbacks to a dog digging under a fence, appearances of a creepy man with books, etc. None of these things are significant parts of the story; yet they are there by design and meant to add depth and meaning. They are not random.
Something I really enjoyed about this film, which is absent from the other movies I listed above, is a sort of dark comedy that exists under the surface. There aren't really any big punchline gags, but the banter between the characters of Joe and Alex (actors Desmond Askew and J Ritchie Nash) had me laughing out loud the way I laughed at the banter between Travolta and Jackson in "Pulp Fiction". Also this movie has a lot of humorous repetition that makes it seem more like a dark comedy than a thriller (like random people asking the main character "has she come home yet?" to which he rants something about his girlfriend, only to learn they were referring to his dog). Back to my earlier comparison, Hitchcock was the master of mixing chills with laughs, and I think first-time director Ari Kirschenbaum did an excellent job at it. It takes a lot of guts to attempt humor with such a serious theme.
I liked this movie so much, after watching it the first time I immediately watched it again with the commentary track. Unfortunately, the commentary doesn't shed much light on the film's symbolism and meaning (you can tell they're trying not to ruin it). But one thing that's obvious in the commentary as well as the actors' performances is that everyone enjoyed making this movie and put their all into it. Shot in 21 days on a modest budget, half the extras are crew and family members. This intimate vibe, especially the funny chemistry between Askew and Nash, Results in one of the "warmest" thrillers I've ever seen.