Review: Gravity (2013, Alfonso Cuaron)


RATING: 9/10

Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Paul Sharma
Screenplay: Alfonso Cuaron & Jonas Cuaron

“Gravity” is possibly the scariest movie of the year. And not in the horror flick kind of way, but in the alienated, greatest fear inducing type of way, that director Alfonso Cuaron and actress Sandra Bullock completely encapsulated that makes you feel tense and hopeful throughout its 90 minutes runtime. It’s not hard to love “Gravity” because of its outstanding visual effects and out of this world performance (by Bullock of course), but it is certainly one of the best reviewed films of the year for a reason. “Gravity” is a visionaries masterpiece, that proves to be Cuaron and Bullock’s career best, in a experience that will test your nerves and make you realize that home is far away, if you don’t appreciate it.

Based on the trailer previews that “Gravity” teased us with for months and months now, the story doesn’t stray far from that. Bullock plays Doctor Ryan Stone, in a mission up in space by NASA. When the mission goes wrong (because of orbiting debris that hits the teams satellite and space craft), Stone is set adrift into the space, needing a way to make her way back home to Earth, alone.

The take that Cuaron used to film “Gravity” is certainly revolutionary. Though we know the director is a big fan of long shots (like he did with his critically acclaimed 2006 film “Children of Men”), we find ourselves in space for a long period of minutes without cuts. Being a film major student, it is obvious that they didn’t film this in one day. They certainly did their own tricks to make it seem like one prolonging shot (CGI plays a big part of the film, too), but the call to do it this made the film the perfect space movie. Up in space, this is how you’d feel. The prolonging shots made you feel that up there that’s how it is. Time moves slowly, all you see is black, and movement is very slow. Frightening, but effective. This filmmaking decision, mixed with the wonderful performance of Bullock (and a memorable supporting turn by George Clooney) would be the strongest features of the film for me.

Bullock is a revolution, in a performance that’s unlike any of her previous career choices. It’s hard to see this years Best Actress Oscar race without her in it. I know a lot of Oscar pundits seem to disagree with a chance of Bullock receiving a second nomination, but I beg to differ. This performance is truly irresistible, and I hope that Academy agrees. Bullock is  a beloved movie star, and despite some opposing opinions, she is a movie star for a reason. And what a movie star performance this was. The right amount of emotion, comedy and fear in Bullock’s voice, facial expressions and mannerisms. She blows Sigourney Weaver (“Alien” franchise) out of the water with such a risky and powerhouse performance. Bravo.

The Cuaron’s (Jonas Cuaron is Alfonso’s Cuaron son) pen a screenplay that isn’t trying too hard, but still gives you an uplifting feeling by the end of the film. The visuals are of course, extraordinary. Not one second did you not believe that this was really happening millions of miles away in space. This is a shoe in for a Visual Effects nomination, and this one no one can detest me with. The sound editing and mixing were pitch perfect.

Generally, “Gravity” was a good movie. Is is one of the year’s best? Certainly. Possibly the best I’ve seen so far. But those involved with it are the reason why it became the picture that is is today. Remove Cuaron and Bullock then a lot a of things could have gone wrong (or at least differently in a negative way). Film may be subjective, but those who create them (if talented) makes a big difference.


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