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“Gravity” Review

6 Oct

627-1 Gravity does not ask us why. Gravity does not ask us who. Gravity asks us what.

Throughout our lives, we face myriad everyday problems, so many that our primal drive to survive gets lost in a sea of relationships, jobs, and uncertainty. Gravity strips all that away, leaving only the rudimentary essence of human life: survival. Space is a place of isolation, one in which nothing surrounds you but deep, dark space, and director Alfonso Cuarón throws you right in.

The setting isn’t only used for spectacle, as I’ve mentioned, but what a spectacle it is. Cuarón is a visionary, delivering a breathtaking drawn-out opening sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the film. His camera work is magnificent, and he throws gorgeous shot after gorgeous shot onto the screen. Yet, each of these shots don’t seem repetitious; in fact, each subsequent one seems to outdo the rest. The situation may not be realistic, but the direction makes it seem that way, and that’s what counts.

(Spoilers may follow) Speaking of realism, the two characters of the film, Ryan (Bullock) and Matt (Clooney), are fantastic. Yes, there are moments of cliche, and yes, sometimes they seem to stand for bigger themes rather than for themselves, as regular human beings. However, I do not believe either of the actors falter one bit. Bullock nails what is possibly the best role of her career, portraying a truly terrified woman that’s going through the most harrowing experience of her life. The contrast between her and Matt is nicely drawn, and the moment in which Ryan hallucinates her partner is one of my favorites of the year. Bullock brings forth that manic energy, and Clooney that smooth reassurance, and it’s simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Ryan survives at the end, but Cuarón isn’t trying to create a fairy tale here. This film is essentially an appeal to our inner natures, asking us not to just watch it unfold, but to be fully immersed in the experience. It asks us to imagine ourselves out there in space. It asks us whether we’re really living.

Gravity is easily one of the best, if not the best, film of the year. It’s a cathartic, terrifying, and thrilling ride that is pleading to us to let go and survive, while at the same time, is hypnotizing us, drawing us in to this breathtaking experience.

GRADE: A-

Other thoughts:

-If you haven’t seen this in IMAX 3D, do it now. What a difference it makes. I normally hate 3D, but everything works here.

-The shot that sticks most with me, probably because it’s at the end of the movie, is the overhead shot of all the flaming pieces hurtling toward Earth. Absolutely beautiful.

-I would be surprised if Bullock, and the film itself, doesn’t get a nomination here.

-Ed Harris as the radio guy down on the ground is a perfect choice.

-Bullock is fantastic in that climactic scene in which she listens to the person with the dogs and the baby. It feels so raw and beautiful.

-I like the humor in the movie. It gets a bit talky at times, but everything else makes up for it.

-This film is emotionally draining. I’m not sure if I can see it again.

Credit to Regency Enterprises, Heyday Films, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Gravity for all pictures. I own nothing.

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