Able Danger


Though it knocks along with the steady heartbeat pace of a thriller and is painted in the languid, low-contrast shadows of a noir, Paul Krik’s feature debut is neither and both. Mixing genres, stereotypes, and bug-eyed conspiracy theories, Able Danger satisfies its own aesthetic demands but has trouble with its bigger concern: tying the noir look to its attendant narrative traditions in the service of some artistic (rather than merely referential) effect. Thomas Flynn (Adam Nee) runs the Vox Pop café in deepest hipster Brooklyn, and either too much coffee or too few customers have led him to pen a book claiming that Mohamed Atta was a government patsy. The publicity for his book draws in a mysterious Eurobabe (Elina Löwensohn) who claims she has proof of CIA involvement in 9/11. Bodies begin dropping around her almost immediately—the first being that of Thomas’s friend—and a torrent of G-men, Germans, Arabs, Tasers, text messages, tech nerds, and messenger bags is unleashed. Able Danger‘s various generic elements and ambitions, while successful on their own, resist melding into a successful pastiche; perhaps the invocation of September 11 for the vaguely satirical purpose of tweaking conspiracy crap like that found in Zeitgeist: The Movie (an Internet film that, like Krik’s recent “Be Kanye” ads, went mega-viral last year) proves too preoccupying for such a winking, if well-made, film.