I know that many of you will disagree with the rating of this movie, but I think it is fucking awesome! Coming to us from Australia, this is a perfect example of how the lack of money can push the director and crew into innovative, original, and above all visually stunning solutions. Gabriel is filled with them, using the noir vibe extensively and mixing it with great and highly involving story. It reminded me of another phenomenal Australian low-budget movie Wyrmwood.
Fucking Aussies, they are really creative. I mean just compare Gabriel to Legion, made on a budget of $26 million. The movies feature relatively similar stories but one is a work of art and another is a movie so bad it’s good. This movie was a debut for Andy Whitfield, who you might know as Spartacus from Spartacus: Blood and Sand television show. His performance here was confident and impressive and arguably one of his best roles. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he died four years later.
The story is set in a dark city, filled with sin and debauchery. In this purgatory archangels and the fallen ones fight for the human souls. At the time of Gabriel’s arrival, the darkness has taken the entire city. The rest of the archangels are scared and they have gone underground in fear for their lives. It is up to him to try to unite them and destroy the darkness that has shrouded the city.
The religious aspects work great in this setting. And it’s surprising no one thought of this before. The world is well-defined and has an authentic feel to it. After the release of Sin City, only a couple of years earlier, I think they picked up a lot of visual style from it. Although they are citing Highlander, The Crow, and Blade Runner as major visual influences. Really moody and atmospheric it has a slower pace. This, combined with a runtime of over two hours requires some effort.
I think that this was the idea behind the movie, to pull you in this strange world. To make you forget about your current troubles and worries and be somewhere else for two hours. Of course, there are some lame scenes and aspects of the flick like the overused eyes thing and some horribly lame tattoos. However, they all fade away when you look at the big picture. And if you’re looking for movies similar to Gabriel check out Dark City, Priest, The Prophecy, and Constantine. Although Let Us Prey does have a different visual approach, it feature prominent religious elements.
Director: Shane Abbess
Cast: Andy Whitfield, Dwaine Stevenson, Samantha Noble, Michael Piccirilli, Erika Heynatz
Fun Stuff: Produced on the minuscule budget of $150,000, tiny even by Australian standards.