Thursday, 5 December 2013

Gravity (2013): Review

Gravity is a 2013 science fiction film. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) and starring Sandra Bullock (Speed, Crash) and George Clooney (From Dusk til Dawn). Almost all of the movie was filmed on a sound stage at Shepperton studios.

Gravity follows the outer space crisis of astronauts Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (Clooney) as a series of satellites explode causing masses of debris to orbit the earth faster than a speeding bullet. This calamity not only causes our heroes to become separated from their craft and float off freely into orbit but also destroys their craft leaving foreign space stations as the only hope of survival. With earth communications severed, oxygen supplies running low and dwindling propulsion can our astronauts survive the deadly atmosphere of space.

The plot of Gravity is simple, perhaps deliberately, to accommodate the film's main strengths...tension and visual mastery. I wasn't a huge fan of the overrated Children of Men (2006) but what was made clear in that film, and in this one, is that Cuaron is a visual auteur and a technically gifted filmmaker. From the disorienting spins and jolts to the tranquil vistas of the earth below Cuaron ensures that he presents one of the most realistic and immersive space films ever created.

To further compliment the visual delights of Gravity, an excellent score is provided by Steven Price (The World's End, Attack the Block) accompanying the tonal shifts with either suspenseful strings or morose piano. This is reminiscent of the scores from Moon (2009) and Sunshine (2007), two of the greatest space-set science fiction movies, and only adds to immersive atmosphere of the film. The only criticisms of the film I could muster are a somewhat ho hum script and a typically smug and irritating George Clooney attempting (and failing) to provide comic relief.

Gravity has been prone to hyperbole from many critics, is it the film of the year?...No. Is it the greatest space film ever made?...No. Gravity is certainly the best sci-fi film of this year and one of the most immersive and visceral films you will ever see. Cuaron's technical achievements with the film tower above his contemporaries and will likely raise the bar paving the way for a new ultra stylised, yet realistic, direction for science-fiction as a treasured genre.

**** 4 Stars

What did you think of Gravity? Is it worthy of the Hype?


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