American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Early in the production of "Sebastian," somebody should have called a meeting to figure out what the movie was about. I guess nobody did.
What we are stuck with, then, is a movie that moves confidently in three directions, arriving nowhere with a splendid show of style.
At first it seems to be a thriller about a code-cracking operation. Dirk Bogarde has a corps of girls who doodle on scratch pads while a big computer sets up code patterns. "Look out for Group Six," Bogarde warns over his Intercom. "I think it's a dummy group. Look for recurring cyclical patterns." The girls all scribble furiously.
So far, so good. There's even a paternal head of intelligence (John Gielgud) to make the traditional speech about how the Security of the Western World, indeed, of All Free Men, depends upon Bogarde cracking the latest code.