Saturday, 9 November 2013

Film Review: Gravity

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Gravity (2013)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón

"A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space." - imdb
Who loves space? I love space. The latest film from Alfonso Cuarón (director of Children of Men) is a real treat for fans of NASA, astronauts and all things spacey. With beautiful stories of creation and human emotion woven into it, Gravity is one of the best films this year has seen yet.

When the trailer for this first came out earlier this year, I was baffled. It showed the destruction of a satellite causing a couple of astronauts (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) being flung off into space. "How could they possibly expand on this?" I thought.  "What more is there to the film?" But when more trailers were released, I was intrigued. I went from being actively uninterested, to being inexplicably excited.

Well I can tell you, I did not move throughout the entire film. It was an intense and emotional ride through which I remained utterly stunned. When I watch a film, there is usually a point where I lose concentration, even if just for a minute, and become aware that I am in a theatre, watching a film. This did not happen in Gravity. From start to finish, I was fully absorbed. As soon as the title appeared on the screen, the audience fell silent, and were not stirred until the credits were rolling.

Straight up, the film is a space disaster film set in space. Although the focus was not set on the disaster itself, but the survivors. Beneath the surface, Gravity is an exploration of depression and solitude, and also the story of human creation. The film follows Ryan Stone (Bullock) and her struggle to return to earth. You see everything happen as she sees it happen. You don't find out why the Russians have blown up their own satellite; that's not important. What is important to Stone, and therefore the audience, is how to overcome this event in the face of morality. You follow Stone's physical and personal struggles, which presented in a way in which the masses can relate to. It is probably safe to assume that not many of us will be astronauts, and very few of us will relate to what Stone went through with her child. However what we are all probably familiar with, is feeling like giving up, and the struggle to go on when events seem to have stacked the odds against you. You are transported right into her situation and you are reminded of how astronauts are humans with emotions and anxieties. And after all, aren't those themes at the heart of every science fiction film? 

The film was a visual masterpiece. I think I could write an essay on how it was shot, and I'm dying to know more about how it was done. It was glorious and I cannot imagine how good it would look in the IMAX. The transformation of Sandra Bullock was a great step from the roles she is known for playing, and I think it's worth mentioning how convincing her performance was. The film was simple and perfectly executed. It was one of the best films to be released this year. It was simply beautiful.

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