By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Alfonso Cuaron has created the newest game-changer. Gravity is a feast for the senses, a 90-minute adrenaline rush that doesn’t quit, and a movie that reminds us why we love movies in the first place. Combining a perfect amount of action, drama, feeling to compliment incredible visuals, Gravity is more than one of the best movies of the year. It is easily one of the finest cinematic achievements of the last decade.
On their final spacewalk of a scientific mission, Specialist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Mission Leader Matthew Kowalski (George Clooney) are set adrift into space after their space shuttle is destroyed by debris. With time not on their side, the threat of the debris and the lack of oxygen setting in at the same time, Stone and Kowalski must find the will to live if they want to return home.
First off, let’s shut the doubters up. There have been hundreds of people that have shot down Gravity from the get-go because all they think of it as is “two hours of Sandra Bullock floating through space”. To their credit, that is pretty much the foundation of the film, but it is so much deeper than that. Akin to how The Grey angered audiences that were expecting to see Liam Neeson body slam wolves for 150 minutes, this brisk thrill ride is so much deeper than its runtime or its surface premise.
Bullock provides the cornerstone for this film with a complete tour-de-force as Stone. We learn little about her character, but the few facts revealed by Bullock are so monumental that you realize the journey that she embarks upon during the film is not solely based on survival, but also self-discovery and complete reinvention. Clooney does a good job of adding humor to an immensely intense movie, but the star also plays a key role later in the film, proving to be a pure catalyst in several ways to assist Ryan’s journey. With such a small cast, featuring almost exclusively Bullock and Clooney with Ed Harris making a guest appearance as the voice of mission control, it is incredible that two actors are able to make such a drastic and incredible turn, truly embodying the characters and allowing the viewer to believe in the character on screen, only diving deeper into the experience.
The immersive nature is only furthered by the incredible direction of Cuaron, as mentioned before. The opening 12-minute shot is enough to have you gasping for air in your seat, and the movie only gets better from that point. Having several shots inside of Ryan’s helmet throws the viewer first hand into the experience, as it happens during the most critical points of the film. As Ryan and Kowalski are barreling through space towards the International Space Station, you can see yourself quickly approaching with no chance of a reprieve. It is truly a majestic experience.
Cuaron, a mastermind with a camera, creates such a high degree of visual imagery reflecting the themes of rebirth and reinvention that you feel like you are taking the journey along with Stone. As the film quickly approaches its breathtaking conclusion, you feel like you are taking the ride along with Stone, holding your breath as she works to live despite the odds never laying in her favor.
And the deadly adversaries that appear by the second are presented with one of the strongest and most impressive technological presentations in the history of cinema. It can even be said that Gravity takes the bar set by Avatar and raises it further. Every particle of space debris is clear. Every breath on Ryan’s helmet is visible when she is gasping for air. In 3D, the experience is even more immersive. Viewers have to catch themselves from dodging during Ryan’s standout scene on the International Space Station, when bits and pieces of debris are flying directly at the camera. Add in an insanely immersive soundtrack and you have one insane cinematic experience.
Although the brevity of the film is needed to make sure that the action was sustained and constant throughout, the brevity is perhaps the one shortfall of the film. Even one more 10-15 interval, likely at the beginning of the film, would have went leaps and bounds to help us understand the complexity of the plot. Regardless there is enough meat to keep the fans satisfied, but if one has to scrape and find a flaw with the film, the length of the movie is easily one of the easiest flaws to highlight.
Gravity is beyond a must-see. It is a movie that you should blind buy, splurge on a 3D TV for, find a theater that might still be playing it, buy a ticket and buckle in. Bullock makes the role of Stone her own, as Cuaron establishes himself as one of the best directors in Hollywood with one of the most incredible cinematic experiences ever seen on film. Make no mistake about it, Gravity is the real deal.