Rating: 4.5 /5
If there is one word to sum up Alfonso Cuaron’s latest film, it would have to be “breathtaking”.
For a film that is set in space, you can’t help but muse over the irony.
The Mexican director, who directed ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, is coming off from a long seven-year break, and has unleashed a jaw-dropping and spectacular cinematic experience that could only be enjoyed on the biggest screen possible.
'Gravity' is a technical marvel and probably one of the best 3D films since ‘Avatar’
‘Gravity’, a tense 90-minute odyssey staged just above Earth’s orbit, stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as Commander Matt Kowalski and Dr Ryan Stone – one a veteran on his last mission and the other a space newbie – who are on an assignment to repair a satellite.
Their work is cut short after a wretched turn of events and they are left stranded in space. Running low on air and with communication severed, the pair must try to make their way to an orbiting space station to survive or before they’re struck by another flurry of debris, also called the Kessler Syndrome in astronaut-speak.
The film is a technical marvel and probably one of the best 3D films since ‘Avatar’ (2009).
The entire setup of ‘Gravity’ is contained in one unbroken and very stunning opening shot – one of Cuaron’s trademarks.
You glide along with the camera, over the shuttle and across satellite parts, with the big blue marble that is Earth in the background. And when the camera pans to the blackness of space, you will feel the vast, cold, emptiness as well as a sense of dread over this expansive void of nothingness.
Also read: A bluffer's guide to science-fiction films
That is how immersive the 3D effect is. The added dimension doesn’t interfere nor is it an afterthought. The effect is further amplified when the cameras put you right in the astronaut’s helmet, giving you a first-person point of view.
This will possibly be the first movie that will you make you feel awestruck and afraid at the same time.
BULLOCK’S SUPERB SHOWING
Cuaron manages to coax a strong performance out of his two stars, specifically Bullock, who turns in a most remarkable performance ever since ‘The Blind Side’ (2009).
She carries the weight of the film and her mature and gripping performance is a wondrous thing to watch, because it is light years away from her ingenue days and her comical roles in films such as ‘Miss Congeniality’ (2000) and ‘The Proposal’ (2009).
Sandra Bullock turns in her most powerful performance in 'Gravity'
Watch out for her monologue (she has plenty of those here) in the third act, which is a restrained yet heartbreaking cry for survival. It remains to be seen if she would break the spell for the Oscars, which tend to brush off sci-fi films and its actors.
Also read: The Sweetness of Sandra Bullock
George Clooney plays his usual charming self, spilling sarcasm and dotting their scenes with bits of humour to lift the otherwise tense film.
Cuaron, who co-wrote the script with son Jonas, has proven himself to be one of the most successful and innovative directors around. His ability to blend his own vision while making something accessible is a skill in itself.
‘Gravity’ is more than just a space movie about a mission gone wrong.
If you peel away the slick editing, the state-of-art cinematography, effects, and the pulsing music score, ‘Gravity’ is in essence a very human drama about overcoming adversity in the most inhumane circumstances to survive, and that is why it soars and deserves its lofty place in film history.