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.
"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.