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August 29, 2014

Gravity (2013)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Actors: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

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Synopsis: A shower of debris from failed a Russian missile strike on one of its own satellites careers into the shuttle and workstation of Astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). This leaves them floating aimlessly through Space, desperately trying to concoct a plan for survival.

Review: Gravity‘s trapped/action/contingency hook is straight out of the Classical Hollywood storytelling template and comes laced with the sort of sentimental character development common across many American movie genres. In particular, some of the dialogue and characterisation is gooey and bordering on the irredeemably unrealistic (particularly how chaotically ‘unprofessional’ Sandra Bullock’s Astronaut Stone appears to be, and how George Clooney’s Matt Kowalski resembles little more than a cipher of a relaxed, calm astronaut to counterbalance Stone).

Those quibbles aside, Gravity is unquestionably a unique, one-off viewing spectacle, and if nothing else, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire eighty-five minute running time. To say it’s an “impressive” feat of filmmaking is perhaps a slippery notion, as evidently a huge amount of money and work from an army of skilled technicians has gone into the making of this. To use an architectural analogy, what’s the better achievement, a state-of-the-art, modern monolith funded by the infinitesimal pockets of rich benefactors, or the ingenuity shown by one person in devising and building something from scratch (a filmic example would be Drake Doremus’ proficient Like Crazy made on a $2k camera)?

It’s hard to deny the spectatorial awe that Alfonso Cuarón has engendered by the story’s end as the film’s very title (and theme) of ‘Gravity’ reaches a moving and emotional conclusion – but in terms of Gravity‘s sci-fi IQ, it’s not really a patch on masterworks of the genre, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solyaris(August 2014)

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