Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Reel Review: GRAVITY

Every great movie has a certain level of re-watchability. There are the tragic and depressing films, which despite their great storytelling are such an emotional drain that it is difficult to want to revisit them again. There are movies which are a big ball of whimsical fun that you simply cannot wait to see over and over again, and then there are the films which are so special, so different, and such a unique cinematic experience that you have to file it under a once-in-a-lifetime event. Enter Alfonso Cuaron’s GRAVITY.
Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), is a veteran astronaut on his final mission with first-time spacewalker Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), when an accident destroys the space shuttle and sends the two of them tumbling off into space with nowhere to go.

GRAVITY, at its core, is a very simple survival story as our two astronauts tumble around helplessly in space looking for something to hold onto. The basic structure at a glance feels a little tedious as the two characters go from the frying pan to the fire and back in the pan over and over again. But what makes it all work is director Alfonso Cuaron’s ability to create an unprecedented amount of tension and dread in every second of the film. Cuaron’s camera never stops moving; there are endless tracking shots sweeping from character to character and object to object, and switches seamlessly from third-person to first-person perspectives, literally dropping us right in the middle of the goings-on. The excellent 3D work (a must see in 3D) and stunning visuals make our characters and situation seem all the more real, and you dare not blink in fear of missing something. You may even forget to breath.
Cuaron makes excellent use out of the surroundings. Never before has the vastness of space seemed so vast, beautiful, and so deadly all at the same time. Science is strictly adhered to; with no sounds in space, the only audio we get is heard from the perspective of the astronauts…so every bump and collision comes through as a subtle, yet somehow frightening thump which is more than enough for Cuaron. Despite the simplicity of the plot, Cuaron still manages to sneak some allegories here and there, giving GRAVITY a little more weight and little more to latch onto. Characters are a little thin but are developed just enough to care about, and real-life space-mission procedures are cleverly used to help tell the story.

George Clooney and Sandra Bullock have great chemistry together. Clooney turns on the charm times-ten, and although Bullock occasionally still can’t seem to hit fifth gear, does enough to be convincing. With their characters being the total opposite of each other, Clooney and Bullock are given a lot of good material to explore, and they both do it well.
The finale rolls in only after battering every one of your physical and emotional senses, and it isn’t until the credits roll when you can finally relax. It is a very hypnotic film as there is so much to look at, so much to care about and so much to dread. There are techniques in GRAVITY that have never seen the big screen before; it is brand-new, awe-inspiring, stunning to look at and exhausting to experience. This is filmmaking like we’ve never seen. This is a master craftsman at work. This is a landmark.


Reel Speak was pleased and honored to view GRAVITY at a special early screening. The film opens wide on October 4th.

No comments:

Post a Comment

A few rules:
1. Personal attacks not tolerated.
2. Haters welcome, if you can justify it.
3. Swearing is goddamn OK.