Film Review: “Gravity”

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Gravity, 2013

dir. Alfonso Cuarón

★★★★★

“Life in space is impossible

All I have to say is, thank God for Avatar! If James Cameron hadn’t developed the technology for that movie, Gravity would never have been possible. Think about that next time you say Avatar is shit, haha.

Anyway, the point is, this was spot on. It’s not that same old Star-Trek-Wars-Battlestar-Serenity film where the ships go fast and it’s mean, loud and exciting. It’s gentle, it slowly grabs you by the shoulder and before you realise, it is pushing you under the water, taking your breath away, your eyes are wide and your fingers are locked on your seat. I’ve seen it forty minutes ago, and I still haven’t got my breath back.

It’s the subtlety which makes this successful. The fact that everything is so precise and realistic that you don’t think about how much of it is actually real (very little, I can assure you). You are Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), you see the world through her eyes (literally), you breathe her breaths, and you fear her fears. It’s scary at times because it’s so real. So human and gentle and terrifying.

And the technology is so beautiful. It’s amazing that we have reached a point in filmmaking where we can have such realistic CGI and it feels human, it has that warmth that actors carry, it has life-like movements and it’s chilling how brilliant it looks – through Lord of the Rings, Beowulf, Avatar, The Hobbit… we’ve come so far, it’s truly beautiful. Gravity makes such great use of this. It doesn’t throw it in your face like a classic space odyssey might. It it more like the original Space Odyssey, when we are not supposed to see it as an alternate reality or world, but more like a few years into the future.

(And according to my sources – IMDb – the debris collision is an actual possibility called the “Kessler syndrome”, which basically means that I am never ever going into space not even in a commercial flight, no way, sorry Kubrick)

Besides all that, we are given such a beautiful performance by Sandra Bullock. She was already one of my favourite actresses, but this? This is a whole new level. This is NASA-training meets Cirque de Soleil, this is her going above and beyond, and reaching such a rare reality. Her breathing is phenomenal. And in a film about space – real space, not sci-fi space – breathing is of utmost importance. Bullock carried the whole movie on her shoulders, she made it her own, and it was fantastic. Kudos. Ku-freaking-dos.

So, please go see Gravity. You need to. Not because it’s the next Hollywood blockbuster with the pretty stars and no substance (it isn’t) but because it’s a story about rebirth, about survival and, above all, about humanity.

review by Mariana Duarte

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