Gabriel

Angels don't have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy "Gabriel." Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience.

With:
With: Andy Whitfield, Dwaine Stevenson, Samantha Noble, Michael Piccirilli, Jack Campbell, Erika Heynatz, Harry Pavlidis, Kevin Copeland, Matt Hylton Todd, Brendan Clearkin.

Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying returns locally in its first two frames, and similar campaigns could duplicate these results in other territories. Ancillary prospects also look bright, with film’s computer-game look suggesting an easy and profitable spinoff.

Arc Angel Gabriel (Andy Whitfield) — known simply as “Ark” — is sent by “the Light” to a film noirish purgatory, where he must do battle with bug-eyed Dark Angel leader Sammael (Dwaine Stevenson) and save humanity from itself.

En route to the inevitable good-vs.-evil confrontation, Gabriel encounters several fellow Arks who have already failed to redeem the desolate urban wasteland. Most in need of help is comely fallen angel Jade (Samantha Noble), whose flirtations with heroin and prostitution have left her the worse for wear but haven’t damaged her fetishistic dress sense.

Loins stirred, Gabriel tries to help Jade come back to “the Light” — despite biblical posturing, pic has a coy aversion to the word “God” — but all Gabriel’s good deeds threaten to drain him of the heavenly power he requires to vanquish Sammael.

Sluggish yarn progresses like a computer game running low on battery power, and lurches from setpiece to setpiece without achieving any narrative momentum. Some visual ideas — such as a shootout illuminated only by strobed gun blasts — are impressive, but most of the CGI has a secondhand look. Echoes of “The Matrix,” “The Crow” and “Blade Runner” abound.

Performances are labored, presumably in an attempt to reflect the characters’ self-pitying ennui. Whitfield’s handsome hero comes across as merely a naive and pretentious bore, while Stevenson, as the evil Sammael, is virtually unrecognizable, his face digitally adorned with Barney Google eyeballs. As with the other actors, Noble’s mannequin-like perf is not helped by the script’s tendency to favor platitudes and speeches over real dialogue.

Lensing is deliberately dark — both to create mood and to hide the low budget — but auds content with the unpolished, partially rendered look of computer games will be satisfied. Other tech credits are both ambitious and admirable.

Gabriel

Australia

Production: A Sony Pictures Releasing Intl. release of a Screen Corp. presentation of a Hilt production, in association with Redline Films, Iron Mountain Entertainment. (International sales: Screen Corp., Sydney.) Produced by Anna Cridland, Kristy Vernon, Shane Abbess. Executive producers, James Michael Vernon, Wayne Duband. Directed by Shane Abbess. Screenplay, Abbess, Matt Hylton Todd.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, HD-to-35mm), Peter A. Holland; editor, Adrian Rostirolla; music, Brian Cachia; production designer, Victor Lam; art directors, Andy Bocxe, Allan Chesher; costume designer, Lisa Walpole; sound (Dolby Digital), Marianne Forbes, Michael Glennon, Rainier Davenport, Andrew Parsons, Adam Montgomery, Tim Dennis, Cade Hamstead; sound designer, Sean O'Reilly; visual effects supervisor, Steve Anderson; associate producers, Todd, Angela Parker; assistant directors, Xander Collier, Bob Howard, Chris Schwager, Michael Horvath; casting, Faith Martin. Reviewed at Hoyts Broadway 9, Sydney, Nov. 15, 2007. Running time: 113 MIN.

With: With: Andy Whitfield, Dwaine Stevenson, Samantha Noble, Michael Piccirilli, Jack Campbell, Erika Heynatz, Harry Pavlidis, Kevin Copeland, Matt Hylton Todd, Brendan Clearkin.

More Film

  • (L to R) Owen (CHRIS PRATT),

    'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Tops $700 Million Worldwide

    Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Feasts on $150 Million Opening

    Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying […]

  • NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 23: (L-R)

    How Long Will TV and Film's Boom Market for Female Stories Last?

    Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying […]

  • 'Ideal Home' Review: Steve Coogan, Paul

    Film Review: 'Ideal Home'

    Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying […]

  • 'Calibre' Review: A Terrific, Intensely Terrifying

    Edinburgh Film Review: 'Calibre'

    Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying […]

  • CHRIS PRATT stars as Owen in

    Box Office: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Gnaws on $144 Million Debut Weekend

    Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying […]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung Breaks With Wong Kar-wai’s Jettone (Reports)

    Angels don’t have wings, and humanity is a pitiful species requiring redemption in Oz gothic sci-fi fantasy “Gabriel.” Made on a wing and a prayer by debuting helmer Shane Abbess, this derivative, low-budget HD effort will be hellish for anyone outside its targeted youth audience. Substantial promo by Sony has helped muddled pic score high-flying […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content