"Gravity" could potentially be the film of the year - coming close to emotional turmoil that I experienced with "The impossible". "Gravity" does not only have a basic story to its core but it is accompanied by strong performances and set pieces that give a whole new meaning to the Murphy Law. First things first though.
|The heart of the film, Sandra Bullock gives a stellar performance in an unusual for her, role|
As a huge fan of Alfonso Cuaron ("Y tu mama tambien", "Children of men") and sci-fi overall ("Blade runner", "alien", "total recall", "terminator"), I was impressed by the amount of representation details of...astronauts and space missions. It seems that AC took his time to make this film as plausible as possible in any way. It is absolutely certain that he will get this year's academy award for best direction. His shots are crystal clear - enhanced by incredible cinematography - wide enough and mostly unedited in their duration following complicated events and the surrounding characters in close ups, circles, zooms. Since I consider myself more than a film geek - I read about cinematographical techniques and interested in technical details - it is impossible to see a movie of such directing complexity and stay unexcited. Cuaron has achieved something extraordinary. The first major set piece - a whooping 15 minute unedited shot - that introduces us to our characters and the situation they will find themselves engaged into - is just breathtaking, supported by lavish yet not overwhelming towards the story digital effects. Shot in native 3D the imax experience is immerse. Not only I felt closer to the characters and almost touched the space, but the first person perspective (including the minimalistic sound design) really allows you to get into the shoes of our heroine along with the panic, the disorientation and the hopeleness. There are not enough words to describe the maestry that has been seen with this movie.
At the heart of this rather simplistic script, Sandra Bullock gives a powerful performance, spending months to train into "zero gravity". For those who do not know, this is a gruelling and painful process that 1 minute scenes may last 2-3 days of shooting in rigs and wires in order to add the much needed realism. She is likeable enough and we all can easily associate with her character in the catastrophic situation that has found herself into. Cuaron is clever enough to capture her desperation and will to survive against overwhemling odds and Bullock pulls that off (especially when you have to act...against nothing). It is a remarkable feat, and I am sure it is going to be recognized at this season's awards.
|The special effects are at least top notch|
Both direction and acting would potentially mean nothing if it is wasn't for the script. While it could be classified under -so-what? story, I would personally think of it as either you love it or hate it film. "Gravity" includes realistic dialogues, ignores any funny one liners and deals with the concept of isolation...in space with a bit of survival in the mix with integrity and seriousness. At the hands of a less competent director, this could have been an over abandance of special effects, bad sound design and over the top performances. However, here all this technical wizardy serves the touching and rather exciting story of a medical engineer that must face the unknown in order to return to Earth. Small pauses keep the film at a steady pace and the incorporation of religious themes works well enough in a movie that is based in reality. Anyone who denies that is simply an idiot or just jumps the bandwagon of atheism for the sake of it (nothing to do if you believe or not). I found myself overly attached to the unfolding proceedings on the big screen - I haven't bit my nails since I was 5!
Despite all the praise I have given to "Gravity", I need to say that I felt that it is probably 10 minutes too long for such a concept. However, this does not come close to diminish the entertaining value. "Gravity" should be seen in Imax 3D. It is an incredible experience with state of the art effects, a remarkable central performance and the best direction you will probably see in the last 20-30 years. A technical achievement that changes the rules and reinvents the sci-fi adventure genre while laying down the framework for first clas future filmmaking. Beginners in the school of directing, take notes. You will need them.
+ special effects
+ gripping set pieces
+ Bullock's best performance in years
- a bit too long for such a story