REVIEW: Gravity

4.5

600full-gravity-posterIn this day and age, it is not often we experience cinema as a spectacle event. Films of this type usually provide the combination of powerful human drama with a new supply of technological features, particularly in 3D. In that sense, they have often stood out against typical Hollywood films and have something new to offer. Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is another addition to that list among spectacle films, such as Avatar, Hugo and Life Of Pi, as its visual representation becomes an equally substantial achievement to the plot and characters. Alfonso Cuarón returns to filmmaking for the first time since Children Of Men in 2006 and provides us with a truly intense, eye-gauging and stunning space-drama.

Those who are familiar with Cuarón’s work will identify that two of his auteurist styles of filmmaking are his excessive use of long takes and tracking shots. In the past, these techniques have allowed the audience to literally become the camera and vice versa that leaves us to follow the characters and examine the narrative flow. In Gravity, we witness unbelievable direction from Cuarón through multiple long takes, such as the film’s first thirteen minutes. These long takes suggest Cuarón’s talent as a director of immaculate quality, ability to direct the actors in ways which maintain the audience’s attention. Cuarón’s central focus in Gravity is the naturalistic portrayal of outer space and his direction is portrayed similar to a discovery channel, which becomes an observation exercise for viewers. Through sound effects, we often hear only the sound of breathing and throughout most of the film; there is a limited supply of music. This additionally stands away from other Hollywood films as it becomes a spectacle film filled with nature. Cuarón’s sci-fi hit adds a sense of realism and truth.

In many ways, Gravity is a typical survival film that we have seen time and time again. The film itself is basically two astronauts stranded in outer space after a mission goes wrong and try to get back to Earth. That is the story and due to this, the plot is thin and occasionally lacked depth. We did get a few incidents in which protagonist Ryan Stone talks about her daughter but the aim of Gravity is to experience hers and Matt Kowalsky’s situation and pray that they find solutions to return home. So, in a sense, the plot is exactly the same as the story. The audience still experience space as it is but Gravity still had the potential to go beyond those borders and provide us with further ambiguous structure. The 3D experience arguably has not been more exhilarating and breath-taking since Avatar in 2009. It goes to show that it only works if a film is purely made for it and has been done properly and patiently. 3D almost literally dragged us into outer space but the beauty of Gravity is that it would still be a marvelous experience without it.

While we witness a truthful depiction of outer space and its natural beauty, it is entirely depicted through the dangerous and intense journey of Dr Ryan Stone and Lieutenant Matt Kowalsky. Sandra Bullock took on the role of Stone with a superb performance. Bullock has often been criticized for her acting and while she has been a bland actress throughout her career, her role in Gravity is arguably her greatest yet. We experience everything with her and whilst in her situation, she envies pure human spirit and a firm connection with the audience.

Some have argued that Stone and Kowalsky, portrayed by George Clooney, were underdeveloped as characters. However, they are not like your traditional Hollywood characters with acknowledged backgrounds and motives. It is their independence that allows them to drive themselves out of the circumstances. In fact, the development of particularly Ryan Stone is told through her struggles to return to Earth. It becomes a revelation for the audience as the courage and bravery is who she really is. On the other hand, Matt Kowalsky was almost irrelevant to the film as he was seriously underdeveloped, even as a supporting character. George Clooney was basically playing George Clooney. In a sense, it worked because he was symbolizing the average man in space and Bullock the average woman, but of what we see of Clooney, his appearance was rather bland and had nothing compared to Bullock’s performance.

Typically, Gravity has been compared to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey through similar visual representations of space. Cuarón’s sci-fi hit certainly does achieve a spectacular, naturalistic experience of space along with 3D but it could and should have been a true landmark if it perhaps enhanced a deeper plot. Despite this, Gravity is still an unforgettable experience that makes its mark among Avatar, Hugo and Life Of Pi as a film of pure visual magnificence. Be prepared for an jaw-dropping 90-minute ride in space.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 10/11/2013.

2 Responses to “REVIEW: Gravity”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this, thank you.

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