“Gravity” – when the ground slips under your feet

Posted: Ieva Gabrėnaitė Date: 2013-10-16 07:36

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still from a movie "Gravity"

This is a tale about survival. It’s all about the struggle, not against monsters or demons or even rapists, but the immense void of space.

“Gravity” – a 3D science fiction movie with dramatic elements. The main actors of the movie, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, are playing astronauts who get stranded in space after their space shuttle is damaged by satellite debris. The interesting fact is that there are no more actors in the whole movie, only voices which we can hear through the radio.

Movie plot

While carrying out her first mission in space, medical engineer and mission specialist Doctor Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and her seasoned senior officer, the down-to-earth and chatty Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), Mission Control in Houston warns the team that a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite caused a chain reaction of destruction and the debris are scudding directly to their spaceship. Afterwards, with the connection with Mission Control lost and their space shuttle damaged beyond repair, the astronauts have to overcome their despair and fight to survive.

Background

Known as one of “The Three Amigos of Cinema” with Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron is a Mexican film director, producer and screenwriter, who has been nominated for the prestigious Academy Awards three times and scooped a number of BAFTA and Venice Film Festival Awards. He first achieved success with the wonderful “Y Tu Mama Tambien”, followed by well-known movies such as “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Children of Men”, all of which were received positively by both critics and viewers.

After such a 3D wonders as “Avatar” or “Life of Pi”,  Alfonso Cuaron gives us a lot more realistic and less fantastic story in which 3D effect allows us to immerse ourselves in the vast emptiness of space and at times, cause us to flinch when space debris fly straight at us. It’s an amazing use of digital technology that gives us an opportunity to enjoy the stars and breathtaking images of earth as soon as we put on our 3D glasses.

At first glance it may seem just another survival story, but “Gravity” is so much more than that. It is one woman’s journey towards self-discovery and rebirth. A harrowing tale about facing your own fears, personal growth and rediscover the will to live.

While the climax of the movie might be considered as hopeful, its tone and pacing are relentless and unforgiving. After the first long take in the beginning, every moment afterwards is suffocating and very intense. All together and incomparable experience. People who suffer claustrophobia or even agoraphobia might start to feel a shortness of breath or sweaty palms, due to two main fears constant in the film – either you will be stuck in your tiny suit with a small remnant of oxygen or you will float aimlessly adrift in space.

Gravity-movie-2

a still from a movie “Gravity”

Characters

Nice thing is that the whole movie is driven by two actors and they totally fulfill it. We don’t even need more characters or more dialogs, it is just enough the way it is.

The Golden Globe and Academy Award- winning actress Sandra Bullock presents another amazing performance, after the hugely successful drama “The Blind Side “. Although most of the viewers connect her with such a blockbuster “Miss Congeniality”, this time Bullock gives us a moving portrait of a brave woman with personal grievances, who grows stronger with every moment of the film. With a limited amount of dialogue, we follow her for 90 minutes and do not get tired at all. The filmmakers before selecting Sandra Bullock considered for this role other actresses and at the beginning they chose Angelina Jolie, but after a while the studio refused to pay her 20 million dollar fee.

George Clooney is not as good as Bullock, but he is not a major figure in the movie. His dry wit and charisma brings a much needed draft of fresh air to the movie. He is the glimmer of hope in an otherwise heavily dark and suspenseful story.  He is a true professional; he knows every piece of the space shuttle, counts every step in order to survive. After a while he becomes a symbol of survival for Ryan. Although it’s not the most memorable Clooney’s performance ever, it’s a memorable and solid role.

Elements of the movie

This film’s biggest strength is its undeniable beauty. One might argue that the story is unoriginal or even basic, but it’s here where the visuals take the front stage. This is one of the few films that are truly worth seeing just for the 3D experience. An amazing marriage of outstanding cinematography and digital affects perfectly conveys a sense of atmosphere and space. The extraordinary work of the director and his cinematographer Emmanuel’is Lubezki, opens the gates to the astounding 3D world of beauty for our enjoyment.

The amazing soundtrack which gives intensity for the movie is created by composer Steven Price. Each sound is like a guide who leads us to Dr. Stone’s mood and feelings. It creates a perfect synergy with the visuals of the movie. It is notable to consider that the music and the dialogues are the only sounds we hear in the space sequences. Despite having sounds of explosions in the trailer, this movie is otherwise silent, another element of realism that the filmmakers wanted to convey.

Verdict 10/10

Should anyone ask what “Gravity” is about, I would sum it up as a gorgeous and intense film about the survival in space, even though is so much more than that. It is difficult to describe the experience of watching this movie, a high adrenaline rollercoaster ride from beginning to the end, its startling images and fearful void of space. “Gravity ” is the most beautiful movie of the year.

Akmens Apdirbimas