American Fable-A Riddler’s Delight

(Day 2 of the 2016 Las Vegas Film Festival)

By Russell D. Christian, Esq.

(Las Vegas) Last night I was fortunate enough to catch a viewing of American Fable, written and directed by Anne Hamilton. Described as a “fairytale thriller”, it was a visually stunning and at times mysterious film about a young girl who escapes into fantasy in order to comprehend the evil realities she slowly discovers about her family.

I’m typically not a huge fan of the “fantasy” genre but I enjoyed American Fable, possibly because it felt like more of a straightforward thriller with small, tasteful fantasy interludes. What struck me immediately was the outstanding cinematography, courtesy of Wyatt Garfield. Together with production designer Bret Tanzer, prop master Matt Hyland, and costume designer Megan Spatz they managed to give a small Midwestern farm a very ordinary yet still dreamy look. It was a picturesque on-screen world that, even before the fantasy elements were introduced, allowed the viewer’s imagination to wander.

Once the fantasy elements are introduced they are a reflection of young Gitty’s (Peyton Kennedy) growing fear of her once secure family and the mysterious stranger who has interrupted their tranquil lives.

I especially enjoyed how Hamilton utilized references to other fairy tales and fables. The film itself, like the riddles it references, still retains a few secrets that the viewer must ponder. Although I initially found this a bit frustrating (we are a culture of instant gratification!) I enjoyed the post-film analysis discussions and, after some reflection, am thankful that American Fable kept some of its mystery.