In case you’ve been away from life, you might not know that Gravity has been lauded by critics as not just the best movie of the year, but one of the best cinematic experiences in years. I think that second point is more important, because Gravity does something truly unique. It provides a film so intensely cinematic, that you really do need to see it on the largest screen possible. Waiting for home video is just not an option here. Torrenting the film and watching it on your computer? Well, you’re an asshole.
Gravity tells the story of two astronauts, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), the rookie, and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who are stranded in space after debris leaves their vessel dead in the water. Over the course of an hour and a half, Ryan and Matt fight for their very basic survival, in an environment completely void of oxygen, and no one can help them but each other.
If you get claustrophobic, this probably isn’t a film for you. Even though space is infinite, there is a very claustrophobic feel to the film, as Bullock is shot a lot in close-up, and spends a decent section of the movie in a small compartment. For everyone else, this is definitely a must-see film. Bullock, for one, is basically guaranteed an Oscar nomination for carrying a film. She’s on screen basically in every frame, and the film would be nothing without her performance. Don’t believe me? Picture Paris Hilton in the role, and try to tell me that acting doesn’t matter here. George Clooney is also excellent as Matt, and might ride the films coattails to Oscar night.
The true greatness of the film is in Alfonso Cuaron’s direction. The film is effortlessly beautiful, expanding across every frame. The film functions well not just as a narrative, but also as a visual work of art. The detail put into the visuals demand that you see it in the largest screen possible. Cuaron has gifted you with a film, given the right venue, that will make you feel like you are in space, almost like a theme park ride. Gravity is the first film in a long time that should inspire people to watch it in theatres, rather than wait for video. You’ll kick yourself for not allowing yourself to be fully immersed in the experience.
I’m not sure if Gravity is the best picture of the year. It was a damned fine one, that’s for sure. I think, for me, Prisoners (which I recently reviewed) had a stronger narrative, and also featured several Oscar worthy performances, instead of just one. Both are A’s for me, but on a longer list, Gravity would be #2 for me. However, I do fully believe Alfonso Cuaron needs the directing Oscar for this. What he created here, visually, is perfection. Gravity will be used as a teaching tool for film students from this point on as how your film should look. Aspire for greatness, and you will achieve Gravity.
FINAL GRADE: A