I can’t say I particularly enjoyed this film. To say it is dark, both tonally and visually, is a severe understatement. First of all, I had a theological problem with the concept. I don’t think there is such a thing as purgatory and I’ve got to say this movie made God, referred to simply as “the source”, look very weak and dispassionate. The plot, such as it is, details the workings of a nether realm where angels and ex-angels fight for the human souls trapped therein (although this latter bit is never really addressed in the story itself). In order to bypass the multitude of obstacles entailed in filming an angelic story, the script decrees they must assume human form in order to enter purgatory, making them subject to human emotions and physical frailty. Evidently the side of good isn’t doing too well, so Gabriel it sent to find out what has gone wrong. Think of this as The Matrix with angels, set in the gloomiest nastiest ghetto ever and with almost no special effects. The whole angels vs. the forces of darkness thing could have been handled better and whose idea was it to have both sides shooting guns? (The movie Legion did a much better job of showcasing angels’ supernatural powers, which was much more interesting than your average shoot-out.)
There were some standout performances, particularly Andy Whitfield as the smoking hot Gabriel (those electric blue eyes! Those awesome tattoos!) and Michael Piccirilli as the chilling Asmodeus. It’s also worth noting this is quite a good film considering its miniscule budget (just $150,000 in Australian currency, according to IMDB) but it just didn’t really appeal to me. Perhaps the script would have been better served if the setting had not been purgatory but rather somewhere on earth. Wouldn’t it have been awesome to have the two sides fighting it out, invisible to people just going about their daily business? The whole thing seemed rather pointless and thus I never became invested in the story’s outcome. If you don’t mind watching angels using drugs, employing extreme profanity, shooting and killing one another with reckless abandon, engaged in prostitution and even having angel-on-angel sex scenes (and one rape), then it’s possible this movie might suit you. The script has its moments, with some rather profound lines and ideas, but I didn’t care for the film in general and felt it was disappointing on many levels. – BETHANY
For more on this theological mess also known as Gabriel, visit the Internet Movie Database.
“This is a place where even angels fear to tread.” Gabriel (Andy Whitfield). I can’t believe they went there!
Those eyes! Unbelievably hot.
These eyes? Definitely unattractive and rather distasteful, and what is up with that hair? Dwaine Stevenson as Sammael.
Samantha Noble as Amitiel or as she prefers to be called now, Jade. This is her expression in pretty much every shot of the film.
Erika Heynatz as Lilith, who doesn’t care about [insert any noun here].
Asmodeus, as portrayed by Michael Piccirilli, one of the film’s better performances.
Ahriman (Kevin Copeland) – scary bad guy but also just a dude with contacts and a rat’s nest of furry yellow dreadlocks tacked on the back of his head (see below).
In order to keep costs down, the wardrobe department was furnished with thrift store finds and scenes were filmed in abandoned and/or condemned buildings. This might explain Sammael’s hair (third picture from the top), which looks precisely like a wig found in a thrift shop
Yet another angel bites the dust (in another abandoned building).
“Gabriel, if you are reading this, then I have failed. We are far from grace, further than I could ever imagine. You will feel things that will cloud your judgement. This enemy within is strong and unpredictable. Control these emotions or the fight cannot be won. The others have failed, learn from them but do not follow. You are the last. Michael.”
Photos courtesy of HILT Productions, Redline Films and Sony Pictures