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August 29, 2014

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

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 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 unique as a spectacle, and, if nothing else, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire 85 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 Tarkovsky’s Solaris(August 2014)

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 7, 2021 9:05 pm

    I think this film was overhyped by critics, it possesses a great amount of spectacle, but the story didn’t strike as anything that unique or engaging. Yeah, it might seem a bit unfair for me to critique this movie for not having a more grounded narrative with better character development. But its this lack of narrative oomph that has me thinking that it won’t hold up that well in the future. A solid movie, but I don’t get why professional critics raved about it like it was some kind of masterpiece.

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