Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2013) – A veteran astronaut and a greenhorn medical engineer struggle to survive when debris separates them from their shuttle.
Deceptively simple in plot, Gravity couples stunning visuals and palpable tension in an impressive space disaster simulator.
On a walk to service the Hubble Space telescope, medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are detached from their shuttle when high-speed debris sets off a terrifying chain reaction. The once-serene infinite expanse surrounding now reverberates with unnerving loss…
Director Alfonso Cuarón has not made a movie in seven years and his latest venture is well worth the wait. The fictional space disaster Gravity feels as real as a movie experience can be, owing to the modern technology that has developed in his hiatus.
A gifted crew has achieved accomplished digital effects that would have been near impossible a decade ago. In IMAX 3D, the backdrop of Earth’s surface and its surrounding constellations constantly enthrals. Even calamity dances on screen with balletic grace.
Alfonso Cuarón’s signature lengthy tracking shots once made a huge impression in Children of Men. They work even better here in the breathtaking vastness of space. Not only does the ravishing flow awe with its elegance. It pulls you into the emotional state of the stranded astronauts in helpless drift.
Above technicality, an empathetic link is most dependent on the lead, who must possess the authenticity to convince and the charisma to captivate. Despite thin monologues and potentially distracting star power, Sandra Bullock ticks the boxes with her dramatic performance. Relaying helplessness in her solitude, her distress is thoroughly felt as she spirals further into darkness.
Bringing one further into the experience is the masterful sound design, alongside Steven Price’s indelible score. His music is a much appreciated transgression of the ‘no sound’ space rule. Ceaseless tension allays all fears of a thin plot being overstrained, making for a thematically powerful and incredibly beautiful space odyssey.
A short film follows the Inuit fisherman on the other side of Dr. Ryan Stone’s desperate phone call, making for an excellent companion piece.