American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
I don't think I exactly want to review Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool." A formal review (or even my chaotic version of one) would be inappropriate to this most informal and direct of films. What is needed is a response and some speculation.
Besides, you already know pretty much what "Medium Cool" is about. We had a long interview with Wexler six weeks ago in The Sun-Times. The national magazines are full of photos of his characters: the TV cameraman, his sidekick, his girl and her remarkable 12-year-old son. And by this stage of the game, you don't want to read another rehash. So instead, I'd like to discuss the form of "Medium Cool." That is, the way the movie was conceived, shot and edited.
Five years ago, this film would have been considered incomprehensible to the general movie audience. Now it's going into a big first-run house, and you don't hear the Loop exhibitors talking so scornfully about "art films" anymore. So what's going on when an experimental, radical film like "Medium Cool" can get this sort of exposure?
What's happened, I think, is that moviemakers have at last figured out how bright the average moviegoer is. By that I don't mean they're making more "intelligent" pictures. I mean they understand how quickly we can catch onto things.