Gravity left me breathless. That’s the long and short of it. Alfonso Cuarón’s newest film is a groundbreaking achievement in film-making that is sure to go down in history, and even if I felt like it could’ve used a little more meat to its story, Gravity is easily the best film of 2013.
Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts trapped in space after debris destroys their ride home, Gravity is bound to captivate, and terrify, anyone who takes the time to experience it. It thrusts you, violently, into the lives of its characters and doesn’t let go until long after the credits roll.
It’s such a layered, complicated film that I’m truly having trouble putting it to words. It affects you on an intensely personal level, and it’s sure to give each viewer a different experience. It’s symbolic, profound, and demanding of attention. While the minimalistic take on storytelling might not hit all the right notes all the time, I would be lying if I said Gravity didn’t blow me away.
What solidifies it as a masterpiece, however, is its cast, which really consists of just Bullock and Clooney, as everyone else is credited with only voice-work. These two actors single-handedly carry the movie, a truly colossal feat, especially considering the depth Gravity presents. They’re performances are fantastic, and I hope they both get recognized for their great work here.
George Clooney plays veteran astronaut Matthew Kowalski, a man with a passion for his job that is unrivaled. He’s witty, lighthearted, and a real scene stealer. You can tell Clooney is just having a blast with the role, and he acts as the perfect contrast for the chaotic, stressful situations the film pulls you through. The role doesn’t exactly stretch him as a performer, but in this case that’s a good thing, as it lets Bullock shine even further.
She is the eyes through which the viewer sees and experiences the story, and she is obviously at the focus of it all. Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of Sandra Bullock, with a few exceptions of course, but she gives one of her best performances here, and I fully expect her to win big this award season, as her vulnerable, broken character Ryan Stone is unlike anything she’s ever done, and probably ever will do.
However, I think the plot could’ve had more to it. It’s minimalistic approach works quite well, but towards the final act I certainly felt like there could’ve been something extra to tie it all together in a nice ribbon. Running at just 90 minutes, Gravity is an incredibly compact experience, and while it uses every second well, it deals with so many lofty themes that some of them seem a little underdeveloped.
With that said, Gravity gets a lot done in its brief running time. It demands repeated viewings because of how much content is packed into it, and I expect to get something new out of it every time I watch it. Cuarón knows exactly what he’s doing with this film, and it shows, as he delivers a spectacle of a film that is equal parts captivating and staggering.
Gravity also comes packed with an exemplary soundtrack that hits all the right notes, improving the film the exact way a good soundtrack should. It meshes wonderfully with Cuarón’s directing skills, and once again, will surely win big during award season. It’s probably the best soundtrack I’ve heard this year, right next to Pacific Rim.
This is a fantastic movie, as you can tell, but what sends it into the masterpiece category is Cuarón’s directing. He handles the camera with such a precision and care for detail that I almost forgot I was just watching a movie. He literally carries you from scene to scene, letting each individual shot just drag on and on, completely enveloping you in his story.
It’s at times nauseating and disorienting, but that’s the point, and it makes Gravity an unforgettable experience that I don’t think can b topped anytime soon. Cuarón is a genius behind the camera, a true visionary that is way ahead of his time, and I can’t see anyone topping his work here. And if you have the chance to see it in 3D, do it. Just trust me, you won’t regret it.
I can’t name the last movie that gripped me the way Gravity did. It gets under your skin and messes with your head. It’s an assault on the senses, really, hitting you with so much that it’s almost too much to take in all at once. But as crazy or hectic it gets, Gravity stays completely grounded in its characters, giving the viewer an anchor to hold to amidst the madness.
Gravity is a hard film to label, it’s a drama, with some terror thrown in and flashes of disaster added in for good measure. It does so much in its short running time that you really do have to see it multiple times to really let it all sink in. Even after the credits ended, I couldn’t get Gravity out of my head, and even now, as I try and write my review of it, I want to go and see it again.
It’s not flawless, but Gravity is a staggering achievement of cinema that demands all your attention, if not for its performances, then for its breathless directing that I really hope lands Cuarón an Academy Award. Gravity is easily the film to beat this Fall, and you would be foolish to let it pass you by.