Monday, 2 June 2014
The Gable 5 starts fast and brutal and then turns tense.
You meet - in a rush - 3 characters. A guy empties petrol on to a woman tied to a chair, and another young woman (Eliza Dushku) runs in. The suspense, and the apparent connexions between the characters, make you watch.
Then the caption "17 Years Earlier" shows on the screen, and of course you jeer.
You know a flashback in the first few minutes is usually a trick. TV uses it a lot. Usually it means the programme makers have flashed you a few moments of their most exciting scene, and they hope you'll stay through the dull majority to see how that scene unfolds and ends.
Thankfully, The Gable 5 is better. The Gable 5's flashback is confidently scripted, shot and played. (The script is by Scott Martin and director Kevin Tancharoen, and Eric Leach does the cinematography.)
The flashback is short, too - so you're soon back with Ms Dushku's character, in the sinister and then exciting scenes as she follows the screaming to the room where the petrol-splashed woman is (Melissa Gomez).
Some one elsewhere said the dialogue was "clunky", though you may disagree. True, there's the phrase "world domination", but Professor Gable (James Morrison) says it so well you don't register it til later.
You could do with more conflict in the scene - the army officer resisting Gable's sales pitch more, perhaps - and "What compound?" is an obvious line.
Truthfully, Professor Gable appears to be in conflict with his conscience - or maybe just his nerves - while the officer (Steve Harris) does get impatient. You can enjoy the cynicism and their chat about "the common cold", and their speech is believable as the euphemisms members of the military-industrial complex might use when talking among themselves.
Gable uses flashy futuristic technology in his presentation - and in fact you can watch the movie 3 times before you notice how sparse the sets are, because all of The Gable 5 is done so imaginatively. You always accept blank or sketchy sets when you're enjoying the actors and the action: later you see bullets flash past, and look through a tracking surveillance camera with blood on its lens.
Saturday, 3 May 2014
Eliza Dushku, known best for Faith in Buffy and Echo in Dollhouse, stars in a fast, incisive new internet short, The Gable 5, expertly wielding raw emotion, charisma and a gun in this brief film about violence, neuroscience, and the military-industrial complex.
You believe Eliza Dushku as an action hero. She has her own sense of style. She’s no dame in distress, waiting to get rescued – nor is she a cold, pretty, sci-fi assassin. She’s beautiful even when flecked with sweat and blood fx, and she plays her character as an attractive mix of tough and shrewd and vulnerable.
Though she’s more famous for fantasy roles, Dushku is a terrific naturalistic actor. See her DeNiro pictures in particular. In The Gable 5 she doesn’t coast on charisma – instead she brings human dimensions and poignancy to this anonymous character, pulling you in to the action with warmth and wry humour. You can enjoy everything she summons to her silently-mouthed, “Fuck,” when a grenade stops next to her.
She does the gunfire and hand-to-hand violence convincingly and with conviction. She moves and shoots and fights efficiently, as if this character is - after a flicker of fear - comfortably reverting to a familiar mode of behaviour.
At one point she chucks a crowbar in to the right spot for that grenade explosion to blast it through a bad guy. (The Gable 5 has a computer-game feel, especially during the shoot-out. Games now reach for the complexity, realism, and characterization of movies, and movies want to feel like games.)
Dushku’s character is one of 5 "test subjects" the Gable Corporation is tormenting in its secret compound, and what she believes is escape is part of the experiment. So you see her nerves getting ragged as she runs the gauntlet - a determined, resourceful young woman, becoming battered and bewildered in the last horrific moments.
She gives you her character’s raw-voiced confusion and fear while staying tough at the same time - like Daniel Craig in Casino Royale or Mary McCormack in In Plain Sight, this is some one you would want on your side.
Then the scene shudders and stops. You get to see the scientists. Though the movie continues for a few moments, Dushku has been so compelling that you kind of feel it’s already finished, just because she has disappeared from the screen.
“What’s exciting to me,” Dushku says in the LA Times, “is that it works as a short and it draws you in, but it’s a big world and maybe somewhere down the road there can be more.”
Saturday, 26 April 2014
Listen, you can get yourself a coffee now and take a 9-minute break to watch this new movie - hopefully the first of a new series. The movie has a fast, computer-game feel and some interesting ideas, while Eliza Dushku's performance is human and nuanced and subtle and strong.