After premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, Lou Howe’s has stayed under the radar, continuing to play at a handful of smaller festivals over the past year. Gabriel tells the story of a teenage boy who is struggling to keep it all together, which is something we have seen countless times over again. What sets this apart from the others is the fantastic central performance. Rory Culkin (Signs, Electrick Children) takes the lead as the titular character who is convinced that by rekindling with his ex-girlfriend, Alice will put an end to all of his problems.
First-time director Lou Howe has absolutely nothing to say on the subject of mental illness. Considering the titular character just got out of a mental institution, one would think that it would delve into the psyche of this character. Howe barely touches upon Gabriel’s mental illness and just leaves us with an ambiguous portrait of a character we have seen countless before.
Howe does nothing to make this stand out from films of similar nature. Gabriel has the same dull tone that we have seen time and time again. There is nothing ever done to spice this up. The whole thing just goes in one ear and out the other. It leaves the audience with very little to ponder over or even to remember about the film.