CRITIQUED: GRAVITY

The first thing that should be said about this film is that it took over four years to make. Four. Principal photography only took about 3 months. The pre-visualization, post-production and all the rest of the preparation for the movie to reach your Cineplex took another 48 months to create. There’s a lot to be said about dedication to the craft if you’re Alfonso Cuarón and the team he assembled to create the feeling of weightlessness, zero gravity and sheer wonderment that can be seen in Gravity.

There are few films that are legitimately better to watch in 3-D as well. Avatarand Hugo come to mind off the top of our heads, and that’s just in the last five years. We can now add one more name to this list. Gravitcannot be explained or experienced watching at home, unless your home comes with a top-of-the-line 60-inch 3-D HDTV with the best Blu-ray player and surround sound system money can buy. Gravity is so grandiose in its scope, so beautiful in its peace and horrifying in its terror that viewing it on your smartphone would be doing the film a grave injustice.

Cuarón created a film that made you feel right next to the action and made us think twice about joining the Space Program. He co-wrote the screenplay with his son as well, but honestly, it’s less about the words being spoken than it is about the emotion those words evoked. The script created a sense of panic that was so apparent and so palpable it kept you on the edge of your seat. None more so than the panic that Sandra Bullock’s character lives in throughout the film. Her performance was a tour de force indeed, carrying a significant portion of the load on-screen. And this is not a personal affront to George Clooney, but he reminded me of Katie Holmes in Batman Begins: just big enough of a name to make you care and watch, but completely interchangeable in terms of character. It would have been just as powerful a film if instead of Clooney, Tom Hanks or Bradley Cooper was Bullock’s other half.

No, this film’s strength solely resides within the visual aesthetic. Gravity is breathtaking. The cinematography is thrilling and vast and its accompanying score adds to the tension of the piece. It can be argued that there’s so much scope to the film that it’s difficult to take everything in in one sitting, and there is a bit of truth to that, but let’s face it. It’s space, there’s much less to see in the surrounding atmosphere than any other film. It certainly doesn’t detract from the effect it has on the viewer. It’s a dizzying, emotionally drenching piece that regardless of its authenticity lends an entirely new perspective on how the uninformed view space exploration.

Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone in Gravity. Courtesy themovieblog.com

Gravity is currently nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and Cuarón has earned praise as the recipient of the 2014 Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for best direction. Cuarón is hoping to earn his first Oscar, having been nominated for Best Writing in both 2003 (Original Screenplay – Y tu mamá también) and 2007 (Adapted Screenplay – Children of Men) and for Film Editing in 2007 for Children of Men. Sandra Bullock is looking to earn her second golden statue for Best Actress, having won it in 2010 for The Blind Side.

Gravity will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on February 25.

UPDATE: Gravity was the big winner of the evening, taking home seven statues out of the 10 nominated categories, including Alfonso Cuarón’s first Oscar for Directing.

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