Written by Phil Robinson Monday, 02 December 2013 22:39
Features - Reviews
Believe the hype with this gravity defying sci- fi hit by Alfonso Cuarón (also known for his bleak apocalyptic film Children of Men), in which we see a pair of astronauts left adrift in the big vast beyond after a pile of space debris ruins their space station and any chance of returning home or making contact with earth (my personal worst nightmare!) Just.Hold.On is the films tagline and one which resonates throughout the entire film.
Obviously the first thing that grabs your attention in the opening credits is the technical achievement in the rendering of space( and the planet earth) as the camera slowly pans to let you take it all in. In that instant you can only begin to imagine what it must be like to be up there.
Not only are the special effects beautiful and vivid, (especially in 3d) but the way the entire film is shot does everything to make you feel as though you are up there experiencing the whole beautiful disaster. Spinning camera angles and close up shots taken from the characters perspectives during the action, sit nicely against some lingering contemplative imagery in calmer moments; all of which help to keep the films pace in constant motion. The idea of watching just two characters in space for ninety minutes sounds daunting but there really never is a dull drawn out moment. The soundtrack by Steven Price is also entirely unique and perfect to reflect this ‘next generation in filming’ style; ambient, powerful, and electronic.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play the two poor souls left floating , and aside from a choice four other cast members, (of which we only see one other for a short period) the film is really focused on these two actors. Luckily they both deliver great performances which are balanced by the contrast of the characters themselves; on one hand we have Kowalski (Clooney) who is the more level headed and charismatic of the two, and Stone (Bullock) who is withdrawn in an almost depressive state (with good reason) and less experienced in space travel as her partner. George Clooney gives a good stable performance however I did feel I could have been watching him from any other film he has been in! But the true star of the film (as is intended to be) is Sandra Bullock who captures Stone’s internal and external transition.
Some have criticized Gravity for not being accurate in depicting some of the mechanics and physics of space travel (as in other films such as Apollo 11). However this is not a film about historical events or devices, neither is it space related science fiction film akin to that of say Star Trek. This is an introspective drama about the human condition when faced with a disaster... Oh and it just happens to be set in space as a metaphor for Sandra Bullock’s character ‘Stone’. If you are familiar with the 2002 release; Solaris (which just happened to have George Clooney in as well), then you will know what I mean; A subtle contemplative sci fi film way ahead of its time, misinterpreted (and mis sold) as a sci fi horror by the adverts.
Don’t be seduced by the sci fi tag and expect plot twists, big aliens with bigger guns, or antagonists of any kind really. But for a film absent of these things it is still a terrifying and profoundly emotional experience best had in 3d while it is still showing. Top class!