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Director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) has created another masterpiece in modern cinema. Gravity tells the story of survival between astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) after their ship is destroyed by debris from a missile. The two are left to find a way home after Houston communications are knocked out. Gravity is a masterfully crafted and beautifully shot movie that will leave you gasping for air before the end credits roll.
What Cuarón does so well in each of his films is draw the audience in. He simply knows how to immerse viewers and keep them there for the duration of the film. The direction is simply outstanding, with intensely long takes that force you to focus on the characters' need of survival.
The opening shot is a 17-minute take—no cuts or dissolves — just hinging on the verge of space. The already brisk 93-minute run time feels like nothing; the film simply flies by due to the near perfect pacing.
Cuarón captures the audience members and subverts them with such an aesthetic craft. In a scene with Stone, she's about to give up on her survival, but hallucinates that Kowalski found his way back to her. It feels real, and we as an audience are so relieved to finally have someone else with us, only for it to be ripped away. It's a gut-wrenching scene that is entirely effective.
While obviously Gravity wasn't actually filmed in space, it could have fooled everyone. The CGI is stunning, and the cinematography will leave your jaw on the floor. The very first image of Gravity is the Earth from many miles up in space——it's silent, haunting and beautiful.
The only way to truly experience Gravity is to see it in IMAX 3D. Any other way and you're going to be cheating yourself. The action sequences in space are terrifying and will make you wonder why you ever wanted to be an astronaut as a child. One scene in particular you will literally be out of breath due to the sheer chaos and intensity of the events taking place.
Gravity is bolstered by terrific performance from both of its leads, but primarily Bullock who literally portrays every single emotion in a 90-minute film. When Ryan Stone is alone in the film (which is a good majority), the viewers are alone, and feel the emptiness and the silence (which is probably due to the phenomenal sound design as well). She gives a heart-wrenching performance that should not be overlooked by the Academy come this award season.
Gravity succeeds from deft direction and an intriguing story that doesn't push any boundaries (but it sure as hell isn't boring). Simply stunning cinematography and CGI are held up by Oscar worthy performances.
Gravity is a film that must be seen on the biggest screen possible to get the full effect, so dish out the extra few bucks. It's worth it, I promise. I give Gravity 5 stars out of 5.
Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros