American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Frankie Wilde is the king of the club scene in Ibiza, a Mediterranean island where jumbo jets ferry in party animals on package tours. He stands like a colossus above the dance floor, vibrating in sympathy with his audience. Lately he's even started to produce a few records. He has a big house, a beautiful wife, and a manager who worships him. What could go wrong?
Frankie goes deaf. Maybe it was the decibel level in his earphones, night after night. Maybe it's a side-effect from his non-prescription drugs; given enough cocaine, he makes Al Pacino's Scarface look laid back. Frankie (Paul Kaye) tries to fake it, but his sets become exercises in incompatible noise.
He and his manager Max (Mike Wilmot) share a painful truth: "Generally, the field of music, other than the obvious example, has been dominated by people who can hear." (When I hear a line like that, I am divided between admiration for the writing, and concern for audience members who will be asking each other who the obvious example is.) Frankie goes berserk one night and is carried out of his club and out of his world.
"It's All Gone Pete Tong" presents Frankie's story in mockumentary form. Like Werner Herzog and Zak Penn's recent "Incident at Loch Ness," it goes to some effort to blur the line between fact and fiction. It insists Frankie Wilde was an actual disk jockey and interviews "real" witnesses to his rise and fall; there are fake Web sites discussing his legend, but the movie is fiction. There really is a Pete Tong, however; he's a British disc jockey who is seen interviewing Frankie in a doc-within-the-mock.