Able Edwards is a great microcinema achievement. The story is set in a 1950s-looking B&W near-future where earth has become inhabitable. Space colonies float around the earth's orbit. Deceased Media Tycoon Abel Edwards (An inspired mix between Walt Disney and Charles Foster Kane) is brought to life in the form of a clone sampled from the original mogul's body as a desperate attempt from the Edwards Corporation to regain the falling empire's glory.
This is basically a 21st century rework on Citizen Kane's story line with sci-fi overtones, introducing the theme of cloning, shot entirely against a green screen against still photography backgrounds (many scanned from a public library) and some occasional 3-D CGI. Sin City's fans will be inspired by the fact that you can actually shoot a whole epic in your living room.
However, don't expect Hollywood FX hyperrealist environments, fancy camera moves, or baroque compositions. Director Graham Roberson purposely chose to do every single shot (even those which could have easily been made on location), with a green screen channeled background (whether still photographs, live action footage or CGI). You might say that at times the movie's mise en scene feels static: Some extra layers of compositing (and extra months of work in post) could have added more depth in making some of the photo backgrounds more lively, or create the impression that the camera moves a little more.
However this does not detract at all from the story, on the contrary, it might even help it: The result is a prosthetic, unrealistic, yet harmonious, solid and consistent atmosphere that blends very well with the charming 1950s B&W look and epic feel of the piece.
The acting complements the mood with effective performances from the whole cast. Scott Kelly Galbreath (Abel Edwards) manages to transport us to another era with his square jaw and Errol Flynn-esquire mustache. Everything here is at the service of conveying an entertaining story that despite the grandeur of the sci-fi aura, deals with the human condition and the concept of individuality: Is the clone going to behave the way the company has conditioned him to be? Or will he develop his own character?
The film was executive produced by Steven Sodenbergh, who basically donated his Canon XL-1 and Mac G-4 from Full Frontal. It's easy to see why the project caught his attention. Unlike many low budget sci-fi, this is not so much about the special effects or the action, but about concentrating on telling a engrossing story. Some might say that it follows way too closely that of Citizen Kane to develop its own voice, but I find much more interesting and fresh to imitate the storyline of Kane than that of Star Wars or Halloween. Besides this has the twist cloning, which adds a whole new dimension and makes the character unique.
If you love movies you will truly enjoy Able Edwards, as it is an inspiring achievement.
Review by Miguel Coyula from the Internet Movie Database.