Every once in a while, a movie comes along and completely blows your mind on just about every level; Gravity is one of those movies.
The most fascinating thing about Gravity is the fact that it’s not just a movie, but a harrowing, extraordinary experience that transcends traditional movie-making. The director of the film, Alfonso Cuaron, is the mastermind behind my favorite movie of all time, Children of Men. What he does with Gravity, is nothing short of breathtaking. His direction is astonishing, and that is never more apparent than in the film’s 20-minute long opening shot that doesn’t see a single cut or edit. And it’s not a run-of-the-mill dialogue scene either, but a seamless labyrinth of intricate camera moves and first-rate production.
Moreover, the use of 3D in the film is a staggering accomplishment. Although Avatar and Life of PI did a magnificent job with the technology, they pale in comparison to Gravity‘s immersive depth and scope. Cauron takes the story of two astronauts on a mission gone wrong, and completely transports the viewer into their environment. You experience every second alongside our protagonists, and it’s undoubtedly the closest any of us will ever get to feeling like we’re in space. Give the man the Oscar. Now.
Of course, the film’s technical marvels would mean absolutely zilch if the performances didn’t live up to their remarkably high standards. George Clooney does a terrific job with his limited screen-time, but really the film is Sandra Bullock’s and I can’t fathom not seeing her at least nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award this March. As Dr. Ryan Stone, Bullock owns the film, and she’s stunning to watch. It’s such a nuanced portrayal that completely captivates you right from the film’s opening scene. Cuaron frames Bullock in an almost androgynous manner (those severe close-ups are downright iconic), and she really becomes one with the camera. Bullock called the filming experience a “project in loneliness”, as she spent a lot of the time hanging from scaffolding and hooked up to 12 wires from every angle. But her hard work undeniably paid off, because this is one heck of a performance. Eat your heart out Angelina Jolie (the actress reportedly passed on the role when Robert Downey Jr was originally set to star).
And yet amidst the dreary subject matter, Gravity is an inspiring tale of the enduring human spirit. The film adopts a powerful message, one that will likely resonate with a lot of the viewing public, especially those have experienced a loss of some kind. So yes, be prepared to shed a tear or two. Because beneath the zero gravity and the flying debris, there’s a genuinely poignant and universal theme.
I should also note that the film’s musical score has to be one of the most affecting and moving creations I’ve heard in a long time. The final ten minutes in particular, produce some of the most rousing music I’ve ever heard on film (I literally had goosebumps throughout).
Just please, don’t miss the gargantuan experience of catching Gravity on the big screen, and in 3D. Trust me.
Gravity is an exhilarating masterpiece and one of the most awe-inspiring achievements in cinema. If you’re going to watch one movie this year, let this be it.