I am not a film expert nor am I a professional reviewer by any stretch of the imagination. But my blog has been around for ten years, I’ve never hidden that I enjoy movies as a storytelling vehicle, and my faith story is out there for any who are interested. So I guess that’s why I was approached to view and review a new film (going straight to video) from Echolight Studios and directed by Mike Norris. I AM GABRIEL hit video shelves today.
First, the synopsis:
Promise, Texas is no place to raise a family. There’s no rain, businesses are failing, and the kids can’t wait to grow up and move away. Some folks say the town is cursed. But just when things are at their darkest, a mysterious boy wanders out of the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on his back and a strange mat tucked under his arm. He has a message for the people of Promise, but they’re slow to listen. They are blind to the similarities between the slow death of the town and their own parched souls. Confronted by their spiritual shortcomings, the town’s indignation turns to outrage. Still, the boy holds true to his message: there is no hope without Christ, and Promise can only be remade through earnest communion with the Father. In the end, with his back against the wall — surrounded by skeptics — the boy is forced to reveal his true identity.
Directed by Mike Norris (Walker Texas Ranger) and starring John Schneider (Smallville) and Dean Cain (Lois & Clark), I Am Gabriel is a lesson in connecting with those that really matter, whether they be on earth — or in Heaven.
Okay, this is why I’m not a critic. I don’t like the job unless I can rave about something. And sadly, I cannot rave about this film. My overall impression was that it was made on a very small budget. Even the background music through much of the film seemed “inexpensive,” and the quality of the photography reminded me of a public television show from the 70’s.
John Schneider is the best actor in the movie, and I enjoyed the character of the town doctor. Dean Cain did a fine job as the sheriff, but his character felt a little over the top. The young actor who plays Gabriel, Gavin Casalegno, was a little wooden, but I’ve seen far worse child actors.
My husband and I watched the movie together. We agreed that there were some good, uplifting messages in the film. But I’m afraid that the “reveal” of Gabriel’s true identity felt cheesy to me. I could quibble with how the “reveal” lines up with Scripture, but I am willing to allow some “suspension of disbelief” even in a Christian film. I can forgive lots of things, but cheesy is tough to ignore.
This could be a suitable film to show to other believers, young and old, for the purpose of starting discussions about hope, prayer, why bad things happen to good people, and/or angels.
I would have to give it a 2.25 out of 5.0 as a rating. But that’s just my opinion. To see a review that gave it a 5 out of 5 rating, visit here.
Thanks to Echolight for giving me the opportunity to review the movie.