Alfonso Cuarón’s (Children of Men) latest film stars Sandra Bullock (Dr. Ryan Stone) and George Clooney (Matt Kowalski) as astronauts stranded in space after debris destroys their space shuttle. While Kowalski is on his final mission, Dr. Stone, a bio-medical engineer, is on her very first mission in outer space (as evident from her initial bout of nausea). The orbiting debris proved a realistic scenario of the perils of outer space. The film expertly depicts real-life scenarios and thus refuses to be labeled a science fiction film. The practicality makes the film ever the more exhilarating.
The visual shots and sequences are stunning. They are amongst the best ever displayed on film (Life of Pi is still my favorite). The film will almost surely be nominated for best cinematography. This was the first film I have ever watched in 3D IMAX. In fact the only other movie I’ve ever seen in 3D was Iron Man 3 (a disappointing film) earlier this year. I was hesitant if I should splurge to watch a film simply based on critic’s reviews. There are critically acclaimed movies I end up not enjoying as well as the opposite.
In this case, despite the fact the 3D was added in post-production, I think the film benefited from the addition. I thoroughly enjoyed my viewing experience. There were many times I felt as if I were in space. The added visual and sensory component led me to often sync my heart beat to the drum of the action.
Gravity is not the best movie I have seen this year (that distinction is reserved for Blue Jasmine and Fruitvale Station). I do not think it is a masterpiece in film-making. Sorry but my standards are pretty high for such a distinction. While not a masterpiece, the film is without doubt wonderful. The cinematography in tangent with the compelling performance from Bullock creates a thrilling motion picture.
The film is flawed in some respects. The largest flaw was with the film’s conclusion. The ending wasn’t entirely satisfying. That’s all I will say in that respect. I don’t want to spoil it for you. You can always email me if you want a more detailed explanation.
Gravity is a film of survival. It is a film of doing the hardest thing: “letting go.” As discussed by Bullock’s character, we all know we will die one day. Yet, we fear our mortality. That fear limits our behaviors and experiences. It at times incapacitates us to life.
As a fan of Cuarón I highly anticipated the release of this film. In nerdy fashion, I pre-ordered my ticket days in advance. As you can imagine my expectations were out of this world (yes I know this is a bit corny). I don’t think the film met my somewhat, unrealistic expectations. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a pretty good movie. It might simply prove I can be a hard critic at times. I’m interested in reading what you think of the film.
I recommend you not only watch this film, but that you see it in 3D/3D IMAX. Otherwise I don’t think you would fully appreciate the poetic simplicity of the film or the beautiful focuses of Earth. This is a film to be watched in theaters.
Take the risk and make the splurge. I think it is worth it.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images, and brief strong language)
Running Time: 91 minutes
My Grade: B+
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate