It’s official: the first big budget Oscar contender is here. Released on Oct. 4, “Gravity” awes and terrifies. With cinematography and special effects like we’ve never seen, “Gravity” expands the potential of cinema with the unstoppable force of director Alfonso Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.
While making repairs, an American team in space is bombarded by debris from a destroyed satellite. Medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is set adrift and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) attempts to contact Mission Control. The two face lack of oxygen and power while trying to survive and make any contact with Houston and the International Space Station.
For those that expect boredom watching Sandra Bullock float in space for an hour-and-a-half, be assured that “Gravity” is edge-of-your-seat concern from beginning to end. Though it falls into the sci-fi category, “Gravity” fits best into the disaster film genre; space and debris work as the “acts of nature” that constantly endanger the victims. One may remark that absolutely everything goes wrong, but most of the obstacles Stone faces are caused by the continuous threat from the ongoing satellite debris. Plus, there is no safety or comfort zone in space when your shuttle breaks. In this way, “Gravity” is much like last year’s “Life of Pi;” the environment never allows the main character (or the audience) to relax. It is a kind of terrifying that is rarely seen in film.
The story is straightforward without a lot of back story, but the film’s simple title implies so much. The lack of gravity is the main danger of the film, with the possibility of drifting off without any control always present. The gravity of the situation is always present for the audience. And notice the awesomeness of the special effects: in a spacesuit or not, Bullock rarely gets to sit and her levity is occasionally mindboggling to comprehend.
Many accolades are due to the fantastic team involved with “Gravity.” Director Alfonso Cuaron co-wrote the film and has been nominated for three Oscars in the past but never as director. Re-teaming with his regular director of photography, Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki earned much attention for the critically-praised “Children of Men” seven years ago and are likely to see even more admiration for “Gravity.” Lubezki was also previously nominated for five Oscars, but this should be his year to finally win one. Also, this could win Sandra Bullock her second Academy Award for her palpable desperation. Cuaron also uses an incredible team to create a technically spectacular film; the sound, the musical score, and the special effects all create the mood and build the tension.
“Gravity” is a disturbing and challenging watch, but it’s a riveting tale unlike anything you’ve ever seen. A few moments are shocking and somewhat horrifying as you see the destruction caused by the satellite “shrapnel,” especially what happens to others involved. The 3-D doesn’t even feel like what we know of 3-D; it’s not at all gimmicky and makes the distances feel further, the space lonelier, and the danger greater. The disorientation caused by the spinning, however, might be too much for people prone to motion sickness. If you can stomach it, watch “Gravity” in IMAX 3-D and come closer than you’ve ever been to space.
Rating for “Gravity:” A
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Gravity” is playing at almost every theater in Columbus, including Studio 35. For showtimes, click here.