Tribeca Film Festival: "Gabriel" Review

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A troubled young man searches obsessively for his first love, risking everything in an increasingly desperate pursuit.
3.5

Gabriel

Director: Lou Howe

Gabriel is a dark comedy about a troubled young man coping with the challenges of adjusting to life after a mental breakdown.  Obsessed with finding his first love, Gabriel creates his own world, largely detached from reality. As he moves back in with his mother, Gabriel attempts to adjust to life outside of professional supervision. Very quickly he abandons hopes of recovery, and takes off on a journey to find “the love of his life.” Gabriel quickly finds himself dealing with some unexpected challenges along the path, all the while not losing sight of the love that is guiding his mission.

Rory Culkin stars as Gabriel, and gives an engaging and pensive performance. He’s dark at times, without ever getting too heavy. He’s funny at times, without ever losing the severity of his character. The charming supporting cast also keeps Gabriel captivating from start to finish. Particularly, Deirdre O'Connell gives a stellar performance as Gabriel’s mom, standing as a relatable anchor to the craziness of Gabriel’s character.

The story moves quickly, leaving little time for the audience to become disinterested in what might incorrectly seem like a conventional narrative, and the fast-paced storytelling is a pleasant juxtaposition to the more docile tone of the actual scenes.

Gabriel is a darker film, and takes place almost exclusively on a series of cloudy days. Between the greyer aesthetic and darker storyline, the biggest criticism of Gabriel would be that the film is a bit depressing without ever offering a solution/lesson/rationale. When the film ends, the audience is left a little saddened, without much to question.

 

Gabriel elevates a typical coming-home story and takes it to an unexpected and unique place. The film is definitely worth the watch, so long as you’re up for a moodier drama.