American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Who could resist a movie with a title like "The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch"? Apparently not many fans of the comic books in Europe, where Largo Winch is a celebrity. Having first inspired a TV series, Largo starred in this French-made film in 2008. If you can call a movie "Key Largo," then why not "Largo Winch"?
The hero, played by the hard-working German actor Tomer Sisley, is the secretly adopted son of a billionaire named Nerio Winch (Miki Manojlovic). The old man, who is drowned in an opening scene, controls the Winch International Group. What does Winch International make? Mostly money, I think. It's one of those corporations where all you need to know about it is contained in a helicopter shot of a Hong Kong skyscraper.
Flashbacks reveal how a young lad was adopted by Nerio Winch from a Croatian orphanage and raised in hiding by a kindly couple against that day when Nerio might require an heir. Why Croatia? Because this is one of those movies that's always helping you with subtitles saying "Croatia," "Hong Kong" and "Brazil." The death of Nerio, explained as an accident, sets off a boardroom struggle for control of Winch International.
The firm's acting head of is Ann Ferguson (Kristin Scott Thomas), who is one of the most visible actresses in the movies right now; she has made eight movies since this one, with five more in production. Her perfect French and crisp composure allow her to fit in Gallic romantic intrigues, historical roles and even a thriller like this, in which she stares down a boardroom of tough executives.