Friday, October 4, 2013 , Updated 2:27 p.m., October 8, 2013
Movie review: Gravity induces an 80-minute panic attack
Even NASA would be impressed by the visual effects.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer, is on her first space shuttle mission with the veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and team. Things are running somewhat smoothly with the mission despite Dr. Stone’s uneasiness on the spacewalk. The calm of space is shattered when an unexpected disaster strikes leaving Stone and Kowalski as the sole survivors and no connection to the world below. They aren’t in the clear, however, and must desperately try to save themselves before disaster strikes again.
The movie also stars Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen, Paul Sharma, Amy Warren and Basher Savage.
Gravity is a nail-biting, jaw droppingly beautiful film that will have you at the edge of your seat more than a few times. I recommend that before seeing Gravity you take a Xanax, because you will need it. Gravity isn’t a long film, but it is basically an 80-minute panic attack plus the serene 10 minutes at the beginning. All you can do is sit there helplessly and watch as the characters struggle for their lives. It is almost overwhelming. The emotional exhaustion is aided by the fact that the film is visually stunning and extremely realistic. Now I have never personally been to space, but I have been to the museums, seen the pictures and walked through the decommissioned shuttles. Everything you see in Gravity is so detailed that you really feel like they shot it in space. Even NASA was impressed with the accuracy of the visual effects. It is awe-inspiring. On a side note, I recommend seeing this film in 3-D. If have read any of my past reviews, you know that I am not really a big fan of 3-D movies. Gravity, however, naturally works for 3-D. You will see what I mean when you watch it. It just makes sense as a 3-D movie and doesn’t feel forced.
RATING8/10 stars – Cinematically spectacular, but not quite as epic as I was thinking it would be.
Aside from the beauty and precision of the film, one of the things that impressed me the most was the simplicity. The whole film relies on the performances of Bullock and Clooney, which they both deliver with the expected perfection. Robert Downey Jr. was originally slated to play Kowalski, but I think the film is definitely the better for Clooney taking on the role. His natural charm and ease serve to defuse the unending tension you feel as a result of the situation Stone and Kowalski find themselves in. Even the story is simple if you sit down and think about it. It’s about a struggle to survive and the choice to either give up or keep trying. Pretty straightforward. Still, Alfonso Cuarón who wrote and directed Gravity takes that simple story and breathes so much life and emotion into it that you can hardly believe what you are watching. All in all I was throughly impressed by the mix of arthouse and classic Hollywood to the point where I would definitely want to pick this up and keep to watch again. This type of film is rare.
In what I can only describe as Open Water in space, director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) creates a wondrously visual masterpiece that creates a certain mood in which I've rarely seen. Gravity is eerie, creepy and terrifying. Even with the fantastic atmosphere, Gravity has a simple premise: two astronauts clinging to life in space after a debris attack hits their space shuttle. Even though they are in space where everything is wide open, they are lost, secluded and afraid. They don't know if they have the recourses to get back home. They don't know if they have the will to make it. They don't know if this will be their end.
The major difference from most suspense/thrillers that make it to the big screen and Gravity is that we feel everything they feel. This movie will make your heart pound! It will make you squirm in your seat! It will make you anxious as the odds stack up against the two poor souls who we are rooting for to make it home.
This movie should have a warning label on it that says "WARNING: You should not see this movie if you have the following medical conditions..." Part of the reason you feel like you are on the same journey is the great performance by Sandra Bullock. I dunno how she did it, but she is believable from beginning to end -- best I've ever seen from her.
RATING8/10 stars - Visually stunning, high energy and Sandra Bullock makes us feel like we are right there with her!
Gravity may only have a 90-minute run time, but with the little downtime it has to offer, you can't wait for the intensity to stop. It goes from bad to worse to nearly impossible, and you have no idea what is going to happen. If you don't like movies that just seem to never get better, this might not be for you. In fact, even though this movie is brilliantly crafted (not to mention acted), it is one that has very little re-watch value because of the tension it creates. It's similar to a movie called Buried: Once you see it, you know what happens and you never want to relive it.
So you have to ask yourself, do you want to see Gravity for artistic purposes or as an entertainment piece because it's high on quality, but low on relaxing entertainment? All I know is my eyes never left the screen, and for that, you know it has to be worth a view.
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