After a Russian missile strike takes out a defunct satellite, the debris from it causes a chain reaction. This debris eventually makes its way to the Hubble Space Telescope, where Dr Stone, Matt Kowalski and Shariff Dasari are working to alter the telescope but the mission is aborted, the destruction caused by the debris leaves them stranded in space with no communication with Houston.
Sandra Bullock (A Time To Kill, Crash, Miss Congeniality)
George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven, Up in the Air, The Descendants)
Ed Harris (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, The Abyss)
Phaldut Sharma (Children of Men)
Amy Warren (Boardwalk Empire)
Directed By Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Written By Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Y Tu Mamá También) and Jonás Cuarón (Year of the Nail)
What Did I Think Of This Film?
I’ve heard a lot about this film, I converse with a fair amount of people from America and Canada and while I’ve been able to avoid spoilers, I haven’t been able to avoid the resounding praise this film has received, and to be honest, there’s only probably two or three things that you could spoil someone for this film. It’s a cliché but it really is about the journey in this film, and what a journey it is.
Top to bottom, this film is excellent. As someone who is in the field of physics (roughly), I can’t tell you how much pleasure I got from the opening text saying that sound does not carry in space and that they stuck with that. The only sounds you hear, when they’re outside of the space crafts, are their breathing or talking over the mics and the soundtrack. Too often do you see films set in space and you’ll hear all the crashing and whatnot which is utter nonsense and has similar minded people tearing their hair out. So kudos to a bit of science knowledge prevailing. You’ve also got what is a thrilling story unfolding, piece by piece. It doesn’t take long for it to all go sour and the film has a very nice balance of peaks and troughs, in terms of action. This keeps the pace at just the right amount, it doesn’t become stale because there’s always that thought that it can go wrong at any time and it doesn’t go full throttle on the action. It’s well structured, the skill and effort that’s gone into writing the screenplay has really shown through.
There’s isn’t too much wrong with Gravity. One thing that did bother me is that twice during the course of the film, liquid splatters on the camera. I know it’s minor and I’m really nitpicking but it’s something that annoys me, the camera obviously shouldn’t be there, within the fiction of the story, but things are interacting with the camera. I could understand, maybe, if the shot was something being submerged into the water and you wanted to keep it as one long shot from above to below the surface. That would be unavoidable but the instances in this film are not like that. It’s probably not something that anyone else cares about but it happened and both times I felt a bit annoyed.
Gravity is a very weird film. It has two actors who get a full acting credit yet if a film gives a better overall acting performance then it will have done very well. At this point, I can’t even think of any other actresses who will be getting a nomination at next year’s Academy Awards but Sandra Bullock is an absolute stick-on and at this point, she’s probably pretty likely to get the award itself. She’s absolutely fantastic as Dr Ryan Stone. I don’t think that enough praise can be given to her here because there’s a lot of scenes where it’s just her and that must be remarkably difficult. She can’t bounce off of anybody, it’s left solely up to her to make her character connect with the audience and she nails that. If there’s one thing that I would pick fault with is that I don’t feel that she shows quite enough emotion. She breaks down at points but it’s not as over the top as I would expect someone in that situation to react. It’s tough to explain without going into spoilery specifics but there are a few scenes where I was expecting more from her character. Don’t let it take away from what was a great performance though. George Clooney is tremendous, his character has that classic Clooney charm. Before the stuff really gets going, Matt Kowalski is a great character, he’s cracking off some little jokes and he’s telling stories and whatnot. Clooney plays that role so well, you really fall in love with that character over such a short time. But when it gets serious, he’s all business and you certainly get the feeling that the character is a well experienced astronaut. The other cast members are all voices, Ed Harris is the voice of Houston, as you would expect with the Houston controller, he’s serious and professional. Phaldut Sharma and Amy Warren as Shariff and the Explorer Captain, respectively, are too brief to make a judgement on. But even with just two proper performances, Gravity is a master class in acting.
I’m struggling to put it into words how fantastic this film looks. The shots of Earth are absolutely breathtaking. The whole thing looks amazingly realistic. I’m not even sure who to praise here, the director? The cinematographer? The visual effects team? There really are too many facets of this film which are brilliant to give praise to just one person. It really is a great collaborative work which produces this film. Steven Price does an amazing job with the soundtrack too, it really gets the mood spot on. As for 2D vs 3D, I saw it in 3D and apart from some debris flying at you, I didn’t notice a great deal. But then, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, if there was anything then it was subtle which is a nice trick to put in rather than it being obvious. I think that either way, you’re gonna get a great film here.
In conclusion, this is one fantastic film. It’s got two fantastic acting performances in a film which looks spectacular. It’s an exhilarating journey and it’s a lot of fun.
Stuart Ross – @forehead7 – 8.5/10