Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Gabriel

The film's premise is simple: Angles and Devils fight over the soul sent to Purgatory. The Darkness is winning and the only one who can bring back the Light is Gabriel, the last of Seven Angels tasked with this mission.

We see the Purgatory as a wretched place. It's horrible to live in for everyone. Dark and rainy; drugs, prostitution and violence rule the streets. No one cares, no one wants to care. The colours are dark, enhancing the feeling of lost hope and wickedness but beneath it all, there's a smile waiting to be released. In a way, this setting reminded me of Sin City but with a lot more people in the gutter.

Gabriel comes to this world with ideals. His heart is pure but as his journey goes on, he sees more hopelessness. His fellow angels lost the will to fight. He realises too soon that the ideals he holds lead only to more suffering and death. By the time he fights the last remaining demons, he no longer cares for honour or adheres to a code of conduct. In this way, he too falls down from grace.

The fight scenes themselves are not many. Combat isn't the focus of this film. That being said, the few fights that are there are enjoyable to watch. Gabriel and his opponents are fast, they dodge bullets in a way reminiscent of the Matrix and yet, the special effects remain original. There are burst of speeds with the character becoming blurry for a short while, at the same time, it seems as if they slowed down. I think this is what made their powers feel more spiritual than supernatural in nature. The music strengthens this feel. Tribal drumming and a choir of voices are the most prominent in this regard. And yet, with all the Christian undertones, the film remains detached to the faith as a whole. Religion is a background, not a focus. There's some talk about duty, forgiveness, second chance, free will and freedom, a few things that you might notice, like Gabriel's tattoos, and that's all there is.

As I mentioned, there are fight scenes and as in every film where the main character has to dispose of less powerful characters to get to the big bad boss I would expect a massive battle between divine entities. This wasn't the case and yet, it was probably my favourite part of the film. It might be a bit anti-climatic if one is expecting a battle of epic proportions but it's no less emotional nor surprising. It certainly drove the point of the film as a whole, the erosion of ideals when met with harsh realities of life. Still, this feeling of hopelessness the viewer gets is rekindled with the last scene before the credits roll. Which I interpret in a simple way, no matter how hopeless a situation gets, there's always light after the rain has fallen.

No comments: