FILM REVIEW: 'Gravity'

 

FILM REVIEW: 'Gravity'

 

Date: October 6, 2013
by: Pam Nadon | Film Critic

 
 

Esteemed director Alfonso Cuaron has always wanted to be an astronaut. In his new film, "Gravity," it's extremely apparent that he has a meticulous vision as to what it would be like, weightless, drifting about in space. And it's stunning, beyond words.

Four years in the making and seven years since his last film ("Children of Men"), "Gravity" is about the utter lack thereof. A veteran astronaut, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and medical engineer, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), are in the midst of making a technical repair outside of their space shuttle. Suddenly, all hell breaks loose when they're barraged by a shower of debris from the explosion of a Russian satellite.

For an amazing 13 minutes, the audience is in perfect tandem with the two until they are, literally, lost in space. Matt, velvety smooth and cocky (so signature Clooney), reassures Ryan as she's frantically losing oxygen to "sip it like wine, not gulp it like beer." He then performs a drastic act of heroism and leaves Ryan to her own devices. The gravity of the situation is dreadfully dire.

One need not give a hoot about Sci-Fi thrillers to immerse themselves in this visually gripping survival saga. There are no aliens, evil forces or unexplained events inhabiting this ground-breaking piece of filmmaking. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki's astounding camerawork and Steven Price's intense scoring place us in space. It's as real and as frightening as it gets.

Clooney and Bullock are a magnificent match. He's the ever-cool-dude spinning anecdotal yarns and watering-hole pick-up lines. While Bullock is a damaged soul whose young daughter died from a bump on the head. He weaves his way into her psyche, unnoticed until it becomes her ultimate salvation. Cuaron knows how to navigate human nature in any given space.

"Gravity" will leave you breathless. Images of tears floating through zero g, suspension in emptiness and feet ultimately planted on terra firma will haunt your dreams. As the film opens, Matt quips, "You can't beat the view." In the end it serves as an insightful observation and a testament to this cinematic masterpiece.

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