From the very first scene, a long shot of our majestic blue planet from space, Alfonso Cuaron’s edge-of-your-seat science fiction thriller Gravity electrifies. Filmed in 3D by Emmanuel Lubezki (with remarkable results), it captures both the beauty and dangers of the darkness of space. Anchored by highly impressive visual effects, live-action and an enthralling story, the audience is taken on a jaw-dropping journey filled with phases of despair, awe and horror. Gravity is arguably the best blockbuster of the year.
“Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission,” says experienced astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) playfully. He is accompanied by fellow astronauts Shariff (Paul Sharma) and Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) in space. Just days away from completing their shuttle mission, a freak accident (debris left over from a Russian missile attack have left the atmosphere and are now circling the Earth at alarmingly swift rates) causes Stone to be propelled into space and their ship destroyed. With limited oxygen, no visual reference of her whereabouts, she is forced to fight her way through the depths of the darkness to find a way back home. What ensues is both an external and internal struggle for survival. Amidst all the odds, orbiting above the earth into oblivion, Ryan reflects on life, God and deals with her painful past. It plays so well on our fears of being alone.
Both Clooney and Bullock do a remarkable job of delivering the correct emotional tone to a film that requires the most intricate performances. The optimism of Clooney’s character is contrasted perfectly by the fear and fatigue of Bullock. But the film orbits around Bullock, who does more than enough to keep audiences transfixed for the full running time.
Cuaron keeps the audience in weightless suspension right alongside his two main characters. The cameras move swiftly in and around the subjects, from long wides into extreme close-ups in a single take. Without the use of many cuts in the editing we are able to experience the events and the suspense in real-time. All of this is balanced out well between moments of silence and sudden hostility, scenes of vertigo and claustrophobia.
See it in 3D on the biggest screen possible. Gravity is one of the most important film highlights of the year. The film as a whole (script, directing, visuals, vfx, performances), is a breathtaking thing to behold.