Thursday 3 October 2013

Film Review: Gravity

Get ready to start believing the hype; Alfonso Cuaron's new sci-fi thriller Gravity is easily one of the best movies you will see this year. Start planning a NASA spacesuit costume for your next Oscars' party...

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play two NASA astronauts working on repairing a fault on the Hubble Telescope when disaster strikes; a hailstorm of debris from a destroyed satellite tears through their shuttle and leaves them severed from the structure, drifting helplessly through the dark abyss of space.

Something that works in Gravity's favour is the lack of knowledge going in; the trailers for this movie really didn't reveal any more than the initial set-up I described above so the less you know, the more you'll enjoy it.

Just another day at the office
Whilst it may sound like hyperbole, the visuals in this film are quite simply some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful ever committed to film. The long, stretching pans that soak up the scale of the film will amaze all audiences. Right from the off, Cuaron immerses the audience in the dark, cold surrounds of outer space with a 20-minute long unedited shot that twists and turns, showing off the amazing digital effects.

In actual fact, the minimalistic editing in Gravity is one of the films strongest-points. The tranquil camera-work really captures the loneliness and isolation of space with long, drawn-out shots that go on forever. On the flipside, when things start to go pear-shaped, the editing becomes noticeably more rapid and rushed, the extreme close-ups focusing our attention on every little inch of panic expressed on Bullock and Clooney's faces.

The whole film just seems so well thought-out; every single shot has been put together so perfectly, the cinematography being a stand-out amongst numerous other brilliant technical elements. There are some very iconic imagery from this film that will no doubt define 2013 cinema. Steven Price's score is also perfect for everything from the pulse-pounding finale to the the serene and calm beauty of the opening 20 minutes.

Also, the lack of sound in space is mimicked here with the majority of noise being confined to the interior of Bullock's spacesuit; thudding heartbeats, rapid breathing and the creaking of the suit all adds extra layers of immersion to the experience. That's really what you are paying for by seeing Gravity; an experience. Witnessing the astounding technological elements come together is unlike anything I've ever seen on screen. The film just so perfectly captures zero-gravity, you'll believe you're there yourself.

In space, no-one can hear you scream
And now, the acting. Saving the best element until last in this review because both Bullock and Clooney were fantastic in Gravity. Having only two characters for 95% of the film is a real task for the talent on screen but both Bullock and Clooney bore the weight brilliantly. Bullock gives a career-defining performance that evokes Ellen Ripley from Alien; her sheer terror and sadness a highlight. No doubt award nominations will be heading her way come January.

There is really nothing else to say other than go see Gravity. The film is impressive on every level, from mimicking the zero-gravity to crafting such well-paced and nail-biting suspense. Some really massive nit-pickers might pick fault with the fairly slow character-focused scenes but these add essential development to Bullock's character and ensure the audience roots for her throughout the heart-pumping action.

A contender for nominations in half a dozen Oscar categories, Gravity is an outstanding piece of human-centred drama that excels in every aspect of film-making, from editing, acting, cinematography, direction and score. It's a dizzying experience that will leave you open-mouthed with awe.

I give Gravity: 10/10


  1. Good review, man. Definitely an awe-inspiring experience. :)

    1. Thanks man. It certainly was a visually brilliant movie.



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