Gravity is a gripping suspense film, with scenery and scenarios unlike any other movie you may have seen. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play surviving astronauts from a damaged Space Shuttle mission, as they attempt to return to Earth.
We've seen airline, ship, train and bus disasters, highrise disasters, submarine disasters, dirigible disasters, wilderness survival, but never until now, an outer space disaster survival movie. The effects of zero gravity, encapsulated oxygen, and jet fuel create interesting possibilities (and visual effects) for emergencies. The absence of oxygen is a ticking time bomb from the moment the film begins. Handsome Sandra Bullock, floating urgently about in zero gravity, pointy-toed in briefs and a tank, is bewitching. She pulls a Tom Hanks in this movie (sans coconut), carrying the majority of it on her own. Oscar, anyone?
George Clooney is still a smug playboy, but his character in this film is far less self-serving. He's a veteran, one who cares for his team more than himself. His bedside manner in emergency mode is impressive. While himself under constant threat of risk and death, Clooney's character distracts, guides, and inspires Bullock's.
Although it's set in outer space, the movie is also about survival in inner space. It's about the psychological struggles in the aftermath of a calamity, which by now, many of us have personally faced. It's an amazing study of grace under pressure, displayed by both Bullock and Clooney, throughout the film. It's about resilience, motivation, and the ways we face and welcome, or face and push away our deaths, even alternating between the two reactions in the same day. It's also about rebirth, which is evident in the final scene, where gravity and oxygen are once again present.
The father and son team of Alfonso and Jonas Cuarón wrote the screenplay. It's tight, precise, well paced and well-written. It's thoughtful, with homages to predecessors like The Right Stuff and Alien. It touches on deep themes, such as the accidental death of one's child, and being witness to unspeakable scenes that cannot be shared. Next to Samsara, the cinematography is the most beautiful I've seen.
The technical, physical, and psychological challenges of this film were impressive. Most of Bullock's scenes were shot inside a giant mechanical rig, and robots had to be programmed to move her around. Because of the amount of time required to get in and out of the rig each day, Bullock chose to film in this extremely claustrophobic space for up 10 hours a day, communicating with others outside using a headset only. We know now that Sandra Bullock is not only a beautiful, talented and extremely fit human being - she can keep her cookies down on the wildest ride imaginable, and she seems to be a master of her own psychology. Who can guess the hardships and psychological challenges the film crew and other members of the movie team faced in the making of this ambitious film.
If you like action and suspense movies, or either of the two lead actors, you will love Gravity. If you enjoy images of the Earthrise, or the sun rising over the Earth as viewed from space, or even Google Earth, you'll enjoy this movie. If you like being on or watching carnival rides, you're up for some thrills, and if you don't, just close your eyes a few times. In any case, don't miss this movie on a big screen. It's worth ten or twenty bucks for the ninety minutes of awesomeness.
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