Dir: Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men)
Cast: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Synopsis: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
*Reviewer Note: This is a non-spoiler review*
Before I get started I would like to tell you, everything we’ve seen in the trailers and commercials is all in the first twenty minutes of the movie! I know you’re probably wondering why I’m excited about that or even telling you but it is a rare thing in Hollywood when they do it. Onward we go…
Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock), a medical engineer on her first mission in space, and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney), fight to survive after debris from a destroyed satellite speeds towards them and destroys their shuttle and sets Stone adrift. And if you wondering that you are about to watch a “floating around in space” movie, you’ll be surprised. But that’s as far as I’ll go with that
Early on we get to know a bit about how Kowalski and Stone deal with stressful situations. When the debris hit, Kowalski does his best to make sure Stone doesn’t freak out and lose her oxygen. Stone, on the other hand, does freak out but there is a lot more under the surface (that we do find out) that changes her character and plays a major role later on.
However, don’t be fooled, this is a Sandra Bullock movie. Her performance carries the movie and she does a tremendous job and for me one scene stands out in particular (it’s near the end). Clooney’s Kowalski is this charming and maybe somewhat cocky but he knows what he’s doing so you can’t blame him. But, as much as Bullock carries the movie you can’t forget about the people behind the camera. And I’m not just talking about director Alfonso Cuaron, I’m also talking about Steven Price’s score that fits so perfectly with the movie, Emmaanuel Lubezki’s cinematography and the whole Special Effects crew.
The whole movie takes place in space and with zero gravity. You might be thinking “how the hell did they pull this off?” The answer to that is “Don’t think about it.” And you won’t because you’ll be drawn into the action. The special effects are done so well and with Cuaron’s long one takes you hardly notice.
Cuaron also knows what he’s doing and nothing is done just to fill up time, everything has a purpose. Even the casting of Ed Harris (although it’s just his voice) as Houston Mission Control and, again, those long takes are just fantastic. Cuaron even puts us in the “driver’s seat” by giving us many POV shots of Stone as she’s drifting but also when everything goes wrong. But one of the things that make this movie a little more stressful is the fact the Cuaron goes with decision that many Hollywood movies don’t do, Cuaron takes away the sound in space.
All in all, Gravity is an ambitious movie that somehow was pulled off. Despite its “flaws” (I’d be lying if I said there were none but they’re very, very minor) Gravity is more than just a survivor drama or thriller. It’s a lot more than I thought it would be. It asks a question that will leave you thinking after you leave the theater. More importantly it is mostly a nonstop ride and a damn great movie.
5 out of 5