Movie Review – Gravity

That’s right – this baby is SPOILER-FREE!



IMDB Rating: 8.8 out of 10 (24,197 votes)

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

The poster for Gravity.

The poster for Gravity. (Sorry, but it deserves to be this big)

Last week, I said, in my review of ‘Rush‘:

Not only is Rush the best film of 2013 so far, but it’s better than all the films I saw in 2012. That’s how blown away I was by this fantastically shot, scored, acted and edited modern masterpiece. It’s the best film since Drive – and isn’t it funny how similar the motifs are.

Not only is ‘Gravity’ the best film of 2013 so far – including ‘Rush’ -, but it’s better than all the films I saw in 2012. That’s how blown away I was by this fantastically shot, scored, acted and edited modern masterpiece. It’s the best film since ‘Drive’.

There. I’ve eaten my own words after a week.

Alfonso Cuarón, the director of films like ‘Children of Men’ (2006), and ‘The Prizoner of Azkaban’ (2004 – and the 3rd best film in the Harry Potter franchise) does a number on us with his new film ‘Gravity’. It’s an essentially basic concept played out on an extremely large scale, using intricate camera work, a smart script, and amazing performances from his actors. Not only is ‘Gravity’ the best of the year, it may be one of the best of the last decade. It’s not the next ‘2001’, a breakthrough in exploring the wonders of space through a lens, but it is pretty damn amazing.

I find it funny how it’s being compared to ‘2001’, when really, the films are completely different. Well, ‘2001’ is completely different from 98% of films on the market, so it’s hardly surprising that the comparisons are far-fetched. ‘2001’ also happens to be far superior to Cuarón’s epic, but I did notice one similarity in the plot.

Midway through Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, the main character, Dave Bowman, is locked out of his spacecraft without a helmet. He’s struggling to grasp things and he then tries to make his way back to safety. ‘Gravity’ is this very notion, stretched out into 90 minutes of pure brilliance. It’s about the struggle of a person suddenly revealed and exposed, thrown into the deep end, with seemingly no way back. More specifically, a woman who’s cut off from her spacecraft with no way back into it, but you know me – I love being deep and stupid and pretentious.

Cuarón flows his camera in and out of perspective so amazingly gently, and so seamlessly, you’ll be pondering just how he did it hours after you’ve left your (incredibly large screened) cinema seat. The first shot of the film is 13 minutes long, apparently. Not only does it never feel like a 13-minute trudge through the greater universe, it encases you in the environment so amazingly. Another beautiful multi-minute shot featured in ‘Gravity’ is one where we, at one moment, are in the vastness of outer space, exploring the stars and observing Earth, before we are suddenly transported back into the helmet of the film’s main character, Ryan Stone. It’s just shots like these that may strap ‘Gravity’ to a rocket and send it to the planet of modern classics.

Sorry. That was the worst analogy ever.

Don't. Let. Go.

Don’t. Let. Go.

‘Gravity’ features the acting brilliance of two of the best out there: Sandra Bullock (Ryan Stone), and George Clooney (Matt Kowalski). The two have amazing chemistry and do such a perfect job of portraying fairly simple characters with either little, or no emotional connection with anything down below. Maybe that’s why they decided to take the mission. Their other team member is killed off early in the piece, midway through the 13 minute mega shot, so we connect with these two on a deep level, because we know there’s nothing left. Nothing left but them.

The main critique people seem to raise with the film is that it lacks an emotional core. I utterly disagree. ‘Gravity’ features two characters who, although they don’t appear to be that close with each other, bond out of desperation in a time of turmoil, and provide emotional connections for the viewer to put together. Cuarón gives the two actors, especially an amazing Sandra Bullock, complete faith in their emotional compatibility and using their face to convey messages, and they pull it off on a level we haven’t seen since a while before ‘Rush’ came along.

There are two especially tense moments, one involving seemingly unavoidable demise and one involving a return, which I found to be two of the most amazing scenes staged all year. But that’s the core of ‘Gravity’, I guess. It delivers on a scale we’ve only hoped for.

It’s not the next ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘, because that film is something incredible, but ‘Gravity’ is simply superb. It’s a the best of 2013, and it will take something special to overthrow it. It features a score so over-the-top that I couldn’t care less, a performance from Bullock that’s without a doubt going to win her an Oscar, and a series of shots so beautiful we’ll kind of want to stay in this lifeless space we’re so involved in. Cuarón does a number with this one, bringing us a film, the likes of which we’ve never seen before, and may not see for some years to come.

I don’t hand out perfect scores often, but once in a while you have to sit back, reflect, and admit you’ve just seen something marvellous.

MY RATING: 10 out of 10.

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2 responses to “Movie Review – Gravity

  1. Another glowing review! Great work, can’t wait to check this out!

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