"Gravity" Takes Film to New Levels

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Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” is a breath-taking, cinematic masterpiece, worthy of all the positive adjectives that you can use in a film review. It only takes a minute into the 13 minute opening shot (one long take without cutting) to realize that you’re watching something fresh, beautiful and that promises to be a thrill ride. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I held my breath, pumped invisible breaks, and almost talked to the screen in the opening scene.

The key to the film is its’ simplicity in concept. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer working alongside veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). What starts out as a routine “day” in space turns bad as a Russian satellite explodes in space.  The film does a great job of explaining the science of space, but let’s just say the satellite explosion turns into deadly 200 mile per hour shrapnel headed towards our heroes. From there, the film is about survival.

(Spoiler Alert) The majority of the film rests on Bullock’s shoulders as she maneuvers through situation after situation. As if worrying about primal needs like oxygen isn’t great enough, the film’s internal clock of debris orbiting Earth every 90 minutes becomes a character in itself. She does a masterful job of displaying subtlety and realism in her portrayal of Stone.

Cuaron’s camera direction is an awe inspiring ballet floating, dodging and capturing events as they unfold. His pacing is reminiscent of Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”, while his framing captures the beautiful aesthetics of space and its equally horrific silence. This is oscar worthy directing.

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"Gravity" is guaranteed to entertain now, and be studied in film classes for years to come. I’m usually not a fan of 3-D but it’s used well in this film with objects coming at you (not all the time) it feels as though you’re right there with the characters.  It’s a must see in theaters in order to get a feel for space’s magnitude. In my opinion the best picture this year, and will be talked about in the film’s of the decade/best space films lists. 

Rating: A

 

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.