Gravity is a movie that shouldn’t work, but it does. Only two credited cast members and a running time of 91 minutes are what make this tense, powerful thriller work. Any longer and the movie would seem gimmicky, but any shorter and the audience would never have a chance to take a breath.
Gravity takes place in space. Two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) on a mission to repair the Hubble Space telescope are the only survivors of a catastrophic collision with a fast-moving debris field. They embark on a journey to find a way back to Earth. The tense moments are broken up by quiet that gives the audience time to enjoy the breath-taking imagery of Earth viewed from 372 miles above the ground.
Director Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men) is a master at inducing empathy from the audience. He plays with the orientation, or lack thereof, of space. The shots where the Earth is above the astronauts are disorienting, and make the audience sympathize with Mission Specialist Ryan Stone (Bullock). Cuarón’s occasional use of first person camera shots is artful. These shots truly put the audience in the character’s shoes, or, in this case, space-suit.
Although it is classified as a sci-fi thriller, the movie touches upon deeper themes of mortality. In contrast to its tag line “don’t let go,” the movie is mostly about letting go, both physically and emotionally. Stone has a deep back story, but Cuarón makes the smart choice to let Bullock tell the story with words instead of with flashbacks.
Because there are only two characters, the movie is not heavy with dialogue. But when the characters do talk, the script for the entire movie is wonderful. The movie is not chock full of quotable lines, but the words sound real. Cuarón co-wrote the script with his brother Jonás.
Sandra Bullock gets the bulk of the screen time, and she carries the movie. She does a wonderful job, but it is a shame that George Clooney was not in it more. When he is in the movie, he provides much needed comedic relief.
This movie is not for people who hate adrenaline rushes. The entire movie is emotionally draining, but in the best way possibly. Unless you stressful situations are your anathema, you should take an hour and a half to see Gravity.
by: Emma Morrison
by: Emma Morrison