Friday, July 18, 2008


It’s easy to write a review of a movie you love. It’s also pretty easy to write a review of a movie you think is awesomely bad (there are more of those), as long as you’re the kind of bastard who doesn’t mind maligning the work of people better then you (Hi!). The movie that’s harder to tackle is one that has some good qualities, struggles with budgetary restrictions, has some good ideas, but ultimately fails.

The name of the latest of these movies is Gabriel.

In an unidentified city, a war is being waged between Light and Darkness, in the persons of the Archangels (Gabriel, Michael, etc.) and the Fallen Angels. Whoever wins will… cause their side to win, I guess. The good and bad angels descend/ascend to the city in the form of humans with great powers, and fight to the death with guns and martial arts. This makes no sense, but I think the filmmakers were going for a mixture of Equilibrium and Nightwatch. The last (more or less) Archangel is Gabriel (hence the title) and he must outgun the bad guys so the sun will come out again.

The movie had even more problems with the budget than most indie films (according to the special features), but god, is it slow. The basic formula of the movie is: something happens. The good guys talk about it for a while. Then the bad guys talk about it for a while (ending with the main bad guy threatening his subordinate, every time, to remind you he’s a badass). Then the cycle repeats. Everyone talks so much the movie runs over 110 minutes, when it would have been more effective at 80 or so.

The photography is very good, and the entire movie has a nice, artistic look. The actors are all Australians, and they struggle too much trying to maintain a neutral, American-ish accent. They should have just inserted a comment that divine beings are all Antipodean, and not worried about it. The main bad guy wears some very funky contacts, which are actually distracting, as I spent most of my time wondering how much they hurt.

On the whole, a good try, but not a good movie. The writer isn’t Shakespeare, Tarantino or Mamet, so enough with the dialogue, already.

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