7

Gabriel (DVD)

Gabriel DVD (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Andy Whitfield, Dwaine Stevenson, Samantha Nobel, Michael Piccirilli

Directed by Shane Abbess

Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Even though I am agnostic, I am still a sucker for films with religious themes. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about stuff like The Ten Commandments. I’m talking The Exorcist, The Omen et al. No matter how you slice it, religion can be pretty scary. We’ve all heard the stories — if you don’t live your life a certain way, you’re going to be sentenced to burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity. While said belief doesn’t exactly invoke the all-forgiving light and love of God, it can be quite effective material when handled the right way. Enter the Australian indie flick Gabriel.

The story is a bit on the familiar side. The Arcs (angels) are at war with the Fallen (fallen angels, duh!) to control the balance of purgatory (life on Earth?). Something ends up going horribly awry during this latest clash between good and evil. Simply put, the bad guys have wiped the floor with the all-mighties. As you could well imagine, this doesn’t sit well with the man upstairs who lives in the sky and controls the lightning. It’s not long before “the source” (God, as it is referred to as in the film) sends his best soldier, Gabriel (Whitfield), to the old battlefield to get a handle on the situation. Unfortunately for Gabriel, by the time he gets his feet on the ground, things are even worse than he could have ever imagined. His fellow Arcs have either lost their faith, their lives, or even their wings courtesy of the uber-evil Sammael (Stevenson). So what’s an angel to do when he finds himself down on his luck and facing incredible odds? Bust out the old pistolas and start doling out hot lead for the Lord, that’s what!

Gabriel DVD (click for larger image)Gabriel is a surprisingly solid film. From beginning to end it’s a headsy, visually arresting thrill ride packed with solid performances, amazing effects, and great action. There are a few times when the pacing drags a bit and things get a little too wordy, but the lulls never last long. You may not have heard the name Shane Abbess just yet, but I’m predicting within a few years we’ll be well acquainted with it. Rarely have I seen such a promising directorial debut.

One sitting through the special features, and I guarantee you’ll appreciate this movie even more. During the three behind-the-scenes featurettes that clock in at about an hour and a half(!) total, we get to follow Gabriel through some truly tumultuous times. Apparently just before it was scheduled to start shooting, the company who was set to insure the production dropped out and the filmmakers were required to go with someone twice as expensive. This shrunk their already small budget considerably, and as a result the film was almost shelved. Thankfully the passion of the folks responsible pulled it together, and thirty-five days and just under two hundred thousand dollars later we have what we see here. Just incredible. One look at this movie and you’d swear it was big budget. I’m still amazed by this. Gabriel‘s tale from script to screen is enthralling and makes for some really good supplemental material. Add on about eight minutes of deleted scenes, and what we have here is a lean and solid package.

Gabriel stands head and shoulders above the usual direct-to-video fodder. In fact, there’s nothing usual about this movie at all. Go to your stores, cue up your Netflix, or take the plunge and click the link below to make your purchase online!

Saints be praised!

Special Features

  • Three behind-the-scenes featurettes
  • Deleted scenes

    Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

    Discuss Gabriel in our Dread Central forums!

  • Get Your Box of Dread Now
    *US Residents Only .

    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • Gus Bjork

      As Terminal noticed it’s hard to find the reviewer names and, to be honest, that means a whole heckava lot to me even before reading. Some of your reviewers are outstanding, as good as you get. Others are still learning lets say. If you could make them a little more prominent on the review that would be appreciated.

      I’ll keep an eye out for this based on the review though.

    • Sirand

      What a waste.

      Great premise, but it’s as wooden as the holy cross. I’m sick of these soulless tech exercises that play out like someone’s 2-hour demo reel. The actors deliver every line in the cheesiest, melodramatic way possible like they’re all Moses on the mount. Lame characters and dialogue, formulaic story, no atmosphere…just a lot of badly-choreographed action scenes and Alex Proyas imitating.

      Zzzzzzz….

    • Rob

      I third the praise for this. Watched this film earlier today and it’s phenomenal. 4 1/2 knives and highly recommended.

    • The Woman In Black

      I wholeheartedly second UC’s praise for this film. One of the best I’ve seen in a while. It’s sort of like The Prophecy meets The Matrix — headsy religious theme mixed with awesome fight sequences. Overall great acting and absolutely beautiful cimematography too. 4 knives for sure!

    • Terminal

      Ohhhh. I didn’t see it at all.

    • Johnny Butane

      Uncle Creepy. IT’s at the bottom now.

    • Terminal

      Who um… who wrote this review again? There’s no name.