Friday, October 11, 2013

Movie Review: Gravity

Watching Gravity is a humbling experience. Feelings of awe and sheer terror are bound to surge through your gut as director Alfonso Cuaron takes you on the most fucked up thrill ride imaginable, 372 miles above the Earth.

Despite it's jaw dropping special effects (and 3D shenanigans), Gravity is actually a surprisingly simple story. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are astronauts repairing the Hubble Space Telescope when a rogue wave of debris trashes their shuttle and seriously ruins their day/lives. This is basically what you see in the film's trailer. The rest of the movie is a cat and mouse game between humans vs physics in the terrifying vacuum of space. Think Castaway or Life of Pi, but shipwrecked in space...and instead of drowning, you drift aimlessly through the endless cosmos, forever.

Clooney does a great job playing himself, but it's Bullock who literally carries the film on her shoulders. I've never been a huge Sandra Bullock fan before, but her performance in Gravity is amazing and is basically her best role since Demolition Man. While the cast is great (both of em...they're the only two actors with any screen time) it's director Alfonso Cuaron who ends up stealing the show. His last film, 2006's Children of Men was both a technically dazzling and poignant film, with layered characters and plot that had little focus on special effects. Gravity is the exact opposite, a simple story with almost stock characters but features some of the most insane special effects and cinematic pizazz ever put onscreen. The opening sequence above Earth's orbit is one continuous 17 minute shot and is one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen. Hats off to Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki for expanding upon their already legendary camera work from Children of Men and taking it to a whole new level. The sparse use of music and sound throughout the film demonstrates the frightening silence of space and reaffirms one of the scariest elements of the entire film: just how small and insignificant we are in the universe.

On a lighter note, Cuaron should be commended for loading Gravity with nods to other space films. Ed Harris provides the voice of NASA's Houston control straight outta Apollo 13, alongside a slew of references to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. While Kubrick's film saw space travel and technology as a path to mankind's transcendence (via monoliths and star babies), Gravity is all about forgoing the hustle and bustle of our high tech world (dAt astronaut LYFE) and remembering it's the little things that make life worth living. It's existential rebirth by way of oxygen deprived claustrophobia. You know, the fun stuff.


  1. It sounds like something I'd have pretty mixed feelings about given that the review left me with...well, mixed feelings. On the one hand I do love the glory and majesty of space, that stuff is amazing, but on the other I'm never too sure on movies that are basically cinematographic masterpieces relying solely on picture. It sounds like a surprisingly loaded picture but not something I think I would enjoy. Maybe something I would watch while doing something else. Then again I barely have the focus or attention span for a good movie these days anyway.

  2. sounds like it might nab the oscar

  3. I thought it was quite good, and one that really needs to be seen in 3D and on the biggest screen you can find. Spectacular to see, but the science is a little simple-minded at times. I mean, the hubble telescope, the international space station, and the chinese space station all lying within half a mile or so in space? Just one of a many dozen liberties taken with scientific reality.

  4. This sounds so awesome, more of an artistic and thrilling fix than anything, I'd like to check it out soon.

  5. With Hollywood recycling and "rebooting" the same stories and sights more than ever, Gravity stands out as a spectacle not to be missed.
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  6. Gravity is, in the end, a perfect melding of the technological and the emotional.
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