When I first heard about Gravity I wasn’t too interested. It seemed like it would be a big explosion-fest and another in George Clooney’s long line of action vehicles. I am also not the biggest fan of Sandra Bullock (editor’s note: YOU ARE FIRED, SIR). I have mostly seen her star in romantic/romantic comedy films and well, that’s the whole cast. However, the first trailer I saw for it got me hooked. That and it was going to be directed by the amazing Alfonso Cuaron. He is known by some as the guy who ruined the third Harry Potter film. However, i remember him as the director of the fantastic film “Children of Men.” He really knows how to bring characters to life and his style of directing action puts you in the place of the person engaging in said action and makes you fear for your life not knowing what will happen to these character main or not. That is what I was expecting and that is exactly what I got.
The movie is about two astronauts working on the ISS and upgrading some technology. They are told to abort the mission when there is a cluster of space debris that is about to collide with it. The debris ends up killing the rest of the crew leaving Kowalski and Stone to fend for themselves and try to find a way to get back to earth.
This movie is labeled as “science fiction” and while it is a fictional film that deals heavily with science, after doing a lot of research it turns out that this film is pretty much on point with everything scientifically, with a few minor inconsistencies here or there, from the physics of space to quietness of outer space. It can be a little jarring at first, especially if you are a hardcore fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek where space explosions are heard in space and any other noise as well. However, like the opening tells us, there is no sound in space. The only other science fiction property I have seen take this approach to space is Firefly.
The film has only two visible characters, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock). The rest are just voices or dead bodies barely resembling an actor. Even then, the movie is pretty much carried by Sandra Bullock for most of the time. If she does not win best actress at the Oscars, then there will be rage. She portrays a doctor who did not really want to be an astronaut, but did so because NASA needed her skills. She has difficulty letting go of her past, and if you do not tear up at it then you are undoubtedly a robot. What is great about having such a limited cast is the fact that you can put a lot of your effort in developing the two main characters with incredible dialogue. It’s even better when you just have the one character on screen who talks mostly to mission control, who at this point have been disconnected. This allows the actors’ movements and facial expressions to carry the scenes and is a true testament to the actor.
The visuals in this film are so amazing that at times I actually felt like I was in space. It was terrifying. Probably one of the most terrifying films I have seen in my life. I was gasping for air just as much as the main characters were at one point. There is also a lot of symbolism in the film that reflect the film’s main themes. These are learning to let go and the rebirth. If I wanted to, I could deconstruct the film bit by bit in an effort to find all of them, but that would be a bit tiring for this review.
I think this film is also very culturally important. It is one of the few films that is lead by a female for most of the movie and for about 70 percent of the film she is the only person on screen. She is also not reliant on Kowlaski for the entire film. At first she needs his help because, well, he is the one with the jet pack. However, after she becomes the main focus of the film she shows a range of emotions that real person would feel and in no way feels like a Damsel in Distress or a Action Girl. She is a fully developed and realized character, and after watching this movie, I don’t anyone but Sandra Bullock could have pulled off that performance. Even though it fails the Bechdel test, it still passes as a fairly feminist film.
All in all Gravity is a well crafted Space Thriller that is sure to have you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Even though it explores deep themes and dark territory it still has a sense of humor to help you catch your breath. I would not be surprised at all if this won “Best Picture” at the Oscars next year. We give Gravity 10 stars out of 10