Friday, October 4, 2013

Gravity ★★★★★


A perfect space odyssey

Opens in Australia: 3rd October
USA: 4th October  UK: 10th October
Other Countries: Release Information


Gravity is surprising, no matter which way you turn. And there is a lot of turning and spinning, so be prepared if you suffer motion sickness. There is also a great deal of white knuckle, breath holding moments, too.
You could be forgiven for thinking a dramatic space film with Sandra Bullock as the lead wouldn’t work. The staging is so realistic you could, also, be forgiven for thinking it was filmed entirely in space. It was actually filmed entirely at Shepperton Studios in London, England against animated screens. You would also not expect that ninety minutes of slow movement, fifteen minutes of dialogue in the opening followed by mostly silence and monologue, would be so enthralling.
But director Alfonso Cuarón has delivered a film that will grab you by the throat from the beautiful opening scenes, and it will not release you until the end credits. Even then, you will find yourself reliving the moments later because it felt so real.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical genius is on her first shuttle mission and effecting repairs on a routine spacewalk. Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) is on his last mission and, in the magnificent opening sequence, casually zips around her admiring his final view from space. When disaster strikes and their shuttle is destroyed through a collision with hurtling detritus, Dr. Stone must find a way back to earth while her air runs low and she finds herself in an environment for which she is ill prepared.

By all accounts Gravity was a frustrating film for Cuarón to create and he has said he will never venture into space again. Each sequence needed to be digitally created; a two year process before filming began. Most of the technology invented for the film constantly failed up until the first day of filming. Cuarón even kept a diary and talks of fifteen days where they barely achieved anything. The diary was his record for later analysis after what he believed would be his inevitable dismissal when the project fell apart. After the conclusion of principal filming, it was still another year and a half of post-production.

Even the star, Sandra Bullock, described the time she spent in a nine foot cube, created for her shots, as “lonely” and “isolating.” It was so difficult to get in and out of that she chose to remain inside between takes, alone, many times in full astronaut suit.
Gravity has been universally praised by critics, deservedly. We’ve never seen anything like it on the big screen. And since Cuarón has explained that it took him four and a half years to complete, we probably won’t again. But the effort was worth it. It is a haunting, thrilling masterpiece that should be enjoyed on the big screen. We saw it in IMAX in 3D and it is worth the extra dollars to experience the full effect of this extraordinary film.

Here is a great interview with Alfonso Cuarón on GRAVITY