UK Release Date: 7th November 2013
Runtime: 91 minutes
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Synopsis: A medical doctor working on the Hubble Space Telescope finds herself floating alone in the endless void when debris dislodges her and a colleague from the orbiting spacecraft.
Every so often, a film comes along that reminds me why I love cinema so much. Maybe once every few years, I’ll sit myself in that tiny seat and watch something that makes every Scary Movie 5 and Movie 43 completely worth it. Gravity is that film.
This all sounds a lot like hyperbole, but it isn’t. Gravity is nothing short of a jaw-dropping masterpiece.
Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer out on her first shuttle mission with experienced pro Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). The routine operation is disrupted when a cloud of debris destroys their craft, sending the two astronauts floating alone in empty space where they must battle to stay alive.
Alfonso Cuarón was last seen in cinemas in 2006 with the titanic Children of Men, which was a real achievement in high concept filmmaking. Using innovative cinematography and visual effects, Cuarón was able to create the illusion of seemingly endless, continuous shots that led to an unparalleled, immersive experience.
Gravity is of the same ilk. Cuarón’s camera roams freely around the two central performers, as space becomes as much a character as Bullock’s troubled doctor and Clooney’s swaggering astronaut. The lack of boundaries in the void of space is conveyed perfectly by Cuarón, which only emphasises the desperation of the drifting scenes.
More than perhaps anything else, Gravity is an achievement in visual effects and direction. Here, Alfonso Cuarón has made the jump from genius to absolute master. Comparisons to Kubrick’s 2001 are perfectly justified.
One of the reasons Gravity is such a special film is its minimalism. There are, at most, three actors on screen at any one time, and that is exactly how it should be. There’s no need for complex plotting and detailed character backstory, because cinema itself is the star of this film.
That’s not to detract at all from the quality of Sandra Bullock’s central performance. It is the stripped down quality of Gravity that places emphasis on the raw emotion of her portrayal. A moment in which one of her tears is captured in zero gravity is cinematic craft at its most powerful. Managing desperation and terror with consummate skill, it’s an awards-worthy performance that will definitely be in the race at the 2014 Oscars.
In a world where any big movie has to be well a complex, two hour mess, Gravity’s true appeal is its economy of storytelling. It masterfully executes its basic story and doesn’t linger a second longer than it needs to. This is nothing short of perfect cinema.
Pop or Poop?
Again avoiding hyperbole, Gravity is comfortably the best film of the year, and arguably the best film of the last two or three. Sandra Bullock sizzles in the central role and the visual effects are absolutely stunning.
Alfonso Cuarón has conducted an absolute masterclass in cinema here. It’s a film that can fill anyone with childlike awe and wonder – a reminder of the true power of the movies.
Nothing can bring Gravity back down to Earth.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.