“Gravity” is the most technically impressive piece of cinema since “2001: A Space Odyssey” and will have an insane amount of Oscar buzz when award season comes around. Every shot is masterfully crafted, which creates a perfect amount of tension throughout. The technical aspects alone are enough to make “Gravity” a masterpiece, so the exceptional performances and plot propel “Gravity” and its director Alfonso Cuaron into the limelight.
In terms of performances, there is not a lot to judge, but this works in the film’s favor. The two characters, Dr. Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney respectively, are about as small a cast gets coming out of Hollywood. Even with just the two of them, they succeed in making everything feel incredibly personal even in the grandness of space. The aloneness the characters face drags the audience in and makes it almost feel like you are there with them.
Things go wrong very quickly in gravity for these two astronauts. Within the first 15-minute-long shot, the conflict is established. Russians used a missile to destroy a satellite, and the debris creates havoc in space and destroys the astronauts’ way home. This sets up the film’s lot and turns it into a journey to get to the International Space Station in order to return to Earth. I’m not sure about the science of it all, but I’m sure any scientific inconsistencies can be excused for the purpose of driving the plot.
“Gravity” keeps you on edge the entire length of the movie. At only an hour and a half the film felt perfectly contained within itself and didn’t overstay its welcome. Scenes could have been filled with beautiful views of space, but it would only detract from the tension that every scene builds. Everything in the film adds to this tension, such as the sound, or lack thereof. The vacuum of space does not allow sound to travel so the music makes up for this, creating sound where it should be. The silence of space makes the scenario absolutely terrifying and heartbreaking.
Clooney and Bullock deliver fantastic performances. You genuinely feel for the characters, and Clooney feels right at home as a cocky space shuttle commander governing over Bullock’s character, a rookie whose anxiety is getting the best of her in the vastness of space. The relationship between the two has to be strong for the film to succeed because they are the only ones in the entire movie. Bullock does at times spend extended periods alone, making her the focus of the film, and she absolutely owns every scene she is in and really proves her tremendous skill as an actress.
“Gravity” is a rare treat, a film that will please nearly everyone who sees it, critics and moviegoers alike. The beautiful and breathtaking cinematography and the tense action will most definitely be a crowd pleaser. “Gravity” is one of the most perfectly crafted movies I’ve seen in a long time, and I encourage anyone to go see it because it’s an experience everyone should have.