Gravity really is as great as everyone says it is, I mean I knew that it would be good but that it is a damn near perfect film which succeeds on nearly every level is a genuine shock. A rare movie that works both a critically acclaimed, extremely well made film with genuine artistic aspirations and an exciting, visceral action movie. It is destined to be a huge box office hit and a favorite among film critics and contemporary audiences alike. Gravity is really like nothing you have ever scene before. It is not really an action movie in the traditional sense but more like one wonderfully thrilling, intense and breathtaking action scene which stretches across the entire run time. It presents space as something truely terrifying as the indifferent, black expanse is always threatening to pull the characters in. Adding to this effect is the way Earth is always seen in the background, lighting up the movie with a glorious visual effect.
Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are two astronauts on a routine space walk to preform some kind of maintenance. Stone is the rookie trying to assimilate to the new zero gravity environment and Kowalski is a veteran astronaut who is able to keep his cool in just about any situation. They receive word that Russia destroyed one of their own satellites causing a chain reaction with nearby satellites which sends space debris hurdling towards them at deadly speeds. The destroys their shuttle and knocks out their communication with NASA leaving them drifting alone is space with no hope of rescue. With oxygen supplies running dangerously low, their only hope of survival is to somehow make is to make it to the International Space Station in hopes of putting together a way of making it back to earth in one piece. So the majority of the movie is essentially comprised of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney plummeting from the sky all while everything continues to get more insane as one thing after another tries to ruin their plans.
Director Alfonso Cuaron, known for similar critically acclaimed and crowd pleasing blockbusters such as Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is a masterful director of action. His clever use of extended tracking shots, dizzying camera angles and creative CGI visual tricks work together to make a seamless and engaging experience unlike any other. I say this completely without hyperbole, Gravity is the best looking movie I have ever seen. From the gorgeous CG effects to the brilliant cinematography, Gravity is flawless on a visual level. It’s a testament to the incredible power of the film making that Gravity manages to have such an enormous scope while still being a uniquely intimate experience. The horrifying beauty of space is evident as we are immediately immersed in the detailed enormity of the the visuals. Gravity is a film so emotionally powerful and unrelentingly gut wrenching that for the majority of the run time I was on the verge of tears while struggling to catch my breath. It is the kind of edge of your seat, teeth clenched, hands tightly gripping the arm rests of your seat film that big budget Hollywood blockbusters sparsely produce. Gravity also has only of the best sound designs of any film in recent memory on top of the spectacular soundtrack.
The most surprising thing about Gravity would have to be Sandra Bullock’s performance. Bullock, whose real strength as an actress lies with comedic roles, is usually wretched in dramatic roles but she gives a bravura performance as a medical engineer with a tragic back story on her first space walk. It becomes clear that she accepted the mission as a way of coping with her crippling depression back on Earth. When thrust into a situation of unimaginable peril, Sandra Bullock expertly portrays Dr. Stone’s sheer force of will allows her to preserver and eventually find redemption. Bullock’s triumph shines even more when she is forced to carry large stretches of the film by herself, expressing so much emotion through deep breathing, subtle facial expressions and speaking to herself. This is career best work for Sandra Bullock, certainly deserving of an Oscar nod far more than her performance in the unwatchably awful The Blind Side. For most of the film it is only Sandra Bullock and the audience as she confronts every new challenge forced upon her. Similarly, George Clooney gives an admiral performance as Matt Kowalski, the hyper-confident veteran astronaut but its Bullock who is at center stage.
Gravity is not a movie about George Clooney saving Sandra Bullock from the empty void of space and it is not just Sandra Bullock drifting for 90 minutes, but rather Bullock staring adversity in the face and rescuing herself. Gravity features a strong, survivalist and heroic female character and in a genre where interesting and memorable female heroes are almost non-existant, the is incredible. Ryan Stone is a complicated and multi-faceted woman who is capable of holding her own in danger, all while carrying the weight of a grim past on her shoulders. The fact that Gravity was greenlit at all with a female main character is extraordinary. It gives me hope for the future of women in the sci-fi genre. The script is so powerful and the characters so innately compelling and likeable that you become even more invested in their fate making the intense action that much more enthralling.
Gravity has been elaborately constructed and remarkably pieced together right down to the last detail so it’s worth recommending based on the skill of the craft alone. But Gravity is a thrilling, rousing spectacle of a sci-fi film with tons of emotionally gruelling moments. The beautifully rendered visuals and the expertly composed nature of the sound design and soundtrack all add to the emotional intensity of the film. It refuses to let up on the tension for a single second of the run time. Perfectly choreographed in times of both horror and calm, Gravity is an unforgettable movie going experience and one that you should absolutely check out. Bullock and Clooney carry the film with their performances, Bullock in particular shows such a perfect range of emotions which must have made the extended takes brutally difficult during filming. Gravity is by far the best movie of the year so far and is a definite must see.