Gravity is one of those rare movies that hasn’t been spoiled by it’s trailers. The marketing campaign hints at a very different kind of story, but don’t be fooled. This is not a film focused mainly on Sandra Bullock floating around in space, it is so much more. To avoid spoilers, I won’t focus too much on the story itself, as it is something that is best experienced for yourself.
From the get go, the film establishes the differing sensibilities of it’s two protagonists. Astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) loves life, and treasures every moment of of it. His carefree nature belies an individual of vast experience who has made peace with the beautiful yet treacherous environment that he works in. On the other side of the coin is Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer who, as a result of personal tragedy, is repressed and withdrawn, focusing on the task at hand, and oblivious of the wonder around her.
The two characters are written in broad strokes, as if to give a semi-blank canvas for the audience to adhere to, to choose which personality type they relate to more. But as in any good story, the characters learn and grow as they face the ordeal of space and ultimately a race against the clock to survive.
And speaking of space, never has the great wide unknown been realised in such breathtaking wonder as in Gravity. Director Alfonso Cuaron utilises the camera as a paintbrush, deftly using camera angles and CGI to move out of the characters’ POV to wide God-eye shots in such a subtle manner that you never stop to think, “How did they do that?”. The audience is just swept along with the sheer intensity of what’s happening on-screen, the heart-pounding action, the sense of claustrophobia closing in around you, and the feeling of hopelessness almost threatening to overwhelm you, as the characters hit one setback after another.
The acting, the score and the direction all come together seamlessly to provide a story that is both captivating and lends itself to being interpreted in multiple ways. Each member of the audience will come away with a different viewpoint and that’s not a bad thing. Be it religious overtones, the cycle of birth and death, or a message of man versus nature, there is something quite thought provoking about Gravity that will stick with you long after the movie has finished.
I give Gravity 8.5 out of 10.