October 6, 2013

Movie Review: Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron is a director I wish was a little more prolific. That could be a double edged sword. If he was more prolific, the resulting movies may not be nearly as good. In other words, I should just be grateful for what we get. His 2006 film, Children of Men, is simply phenomenal film making and one of my all time favorites. He was also the guy behind my favorite of the Harry Potter films, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Now, he has returned with a long in development special effects driven tale of humanity and survival. The movie is called simply Gravity.



Simply put, this movie is completely gripping in its reality. It is a slow, but never boring, tale of survival, rebirth, and the strength of human spirit and will. You could view it as a survival horror film. While it would be easier to just call it a thriller, the situations depicted can easily be seen as horrific, especially if you have issues with heights. The trailer, on its own, is utterly terrifying.


Gravity is a very realistic movie, it wastes no time getting right to it. It sets up the situation and gets through the exposition in elegant fashion and gets right to it. It sets up George Clooney as the veteran astronaut in charge of the mission and Sandra Bullock as the inexperienced scientist making her first launch as a specialist. Disaster strikes and we are faced with a do or die situation.

It is fascinating to watch Bullock deal, or not, with the situation. She is forced to confront her own mortality and either come through stronger on the other side of fold up shop and drift off into death. It is very human and emotionally draining watch this unfold on the screen.

This is a very simple story given emotional depth by the characters. It immediately resonated with me and had me hooked. Beyond that, the special effects and their realistic integration are absolutely jaw dropping. You will believe this was shot on space.


Alfonso Cuaron has an amazing ability to deliver very human characters and bring an incredible amount of technical precision and skill to the screen. The way this movie is blocked and staged, I cannot imagine it being an easy task. He takes some of what he demonstrated in Children of Men and takes it to the next level, employing some long takes with no, or hidden, cuts, allowing the characters to stand out while giving just enough background to inform you and allow you to bring your own ideas in.

I know, this is a very short write up, but it is a movie that should be experienced. It needs to be allowed to work itself into your brain unencumbered by foreknowledge of details. I know that some people are not fans of the leads, please do not let that keep you away. While their presence likely went a long way to getting this movie made, they are actually very, very good, they are not just stars on the screen. Additionally, see it in 3D, I know it is popular to hate on the gimmick, but it is used masterfully here. Cuaron brings real depth here and it truly helps set the stage and build the tension and fear.

The bottom line is Gravity is one of the very best films of the year.

Highly Recommended.


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