Movies can quite often get people talking, the generic chat often referring to short descriptions on how the audience found the film, whether the film is “good”, “bad” or just “alright”. Less often though, the film is described using words that have more syllables than the solitary one, such as “fantastic” or “abysmal”. Then there are the films like this one, a film that can’t really be described in one simple word, vast though the English language is, I can’t quite keep a description of this film to a single word, to do so would not only be an injustice, but also fail to describe the feel and look of the film accurately. Gun to head, if I were to have to shorten down how I feel about Gravity into some sort of headline, it would have to be “technically outstanding”. Because for me, that is the thing that really stood out with Gravity, wondering how the director, Alfonso Cuarón, managed to achieve the things that he achieved on screen.
To say that this is a good-looking film would be an absolute under statement. From the opening shot of a magnificent spacewalk, it is like the director is saying, “look what I can do!” and what he can do is truly astounding. The astonishment inevitably continues and becomes even more impressive for the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the feature when you realize that there have been no visible cuts in the action. The camera seems to effortlessly drift in and out of all of the goings on like it, itself is not at all limited by trivial things such as gravity. Suffice to say that this is a film that is best viewed at the cinema, preferably in 3D, or on the biggest TV you can manage so you can really revel in the torrent of eye candy that is pouring out of the screen at you.
Gravity is not just for people that admire good camera work, direction and special effects though, the sheer realism of the world that the film makers have created, really contributes towards the narrative of the film, it makes the audience feel the uneasiness of our main protagonist, Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, I myself was found suffering from a little vertigo while she was feeling queasy from her first space walk. At the same time I was also allowed to feel the wonder that was felt by the space loving veteran astronaut, Matt Kawalsky, played by George Clooney. Somehow the director managed to convey the feelings of the surrounding by every character and as a result the whole film makes you very empathetic, or to put it into Internet terms- you feel ALL the emotions!
As you can probably tell from the trailer or synopsis for this film the main narrative, is the story of some astronauts that are fighting for survival, but what sets Gravity apart is that those fights are fought in both the emotional and physical states. When anybody is put into that sort of high stress situation where the survival of a person is not very likely, the mind inevitably comes to a fork in the road; either choose to fight for your life, something that might seem completely futile, or, decide to give up and welcome the cold embrace of death. That is a battle that is constantly present in Gravity, the question of “what’s the point?” is ever present, after all as the script very kindly informs us at the beginning of the film- “life in space is impossible” this feature of the narrative takes the film well above the confines of your run of the mill survival thriller and makes for a compelling and relatable story.
If you can not tell by my ongoing praise with in this review, I think that Gravity is a very good film indeed, I don’t usually try to make Oscar predictions but if this doesn’t win the Oscar in 2014 for best special effects I will be very surprised and I think that it should at least be nominated for best director also.
Because of the ground-breaking nature of Gravity I can’t help but make comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey as that was also a technically astounding film set in space, the difference being, Gravity appeals to film buffs and mainstream audiences alike, also the fact that it isn’t a complete mind f**k also helps. Unlike 2001, this film isn’t out to confuse it’s audience and the final shot of the film really drives home the films title and makes for a satisfying conclusion to one of the best films I have seen this year. Recommended.