Thank you, movie gods, for Gravity.
But thank you even more, movie gods, for Alfonso Cuaron. Gravity is far and away the best movie of 2013. I don’t think we will ever see such an immersive, intense, technically challenging and effective movie for a long time. Cuaron has given the movie-going world an example of what a director can do when vision runs the show.
If you haven’t seen Gravity (the future Oscar winner of best movie for 2013), go see it. In 3D. This has been the only movie I’ve seen in 3D and it was extraordinary.
Here’s a trailer (without 3D):
Released October 4, 2013
Written by Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, and Phaldut Sharma
* * * * *
Gravity opens with one of the greatest establishing shots of all film. It is quiet. A total lack of sound ‘quiet’. We are in space. Everything is in three dimensions– front/back, side/side, up/down. But these are relative, because space is an alien thing and down means nothing when there is nothing to stop you from spinning out of control forever.
Then we meet the astronauts. Ryan Stone (Bullock– yes, her ‘strong’ female character has a typically male name and yes that’s deeply stupid) is not a professional astronaut. She is a research doctor/engineer and she is there to help install and implement an impressive new technology. That technology doesn’t matter. It’s not even a MacGuffin.
Guiding her through her work in space is veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney). Kowalski is professional and chummy, and when catastrophe strikes, he takes charge.
And catastrophe strikes. A de-comissioned satellite’s debris field smashes into the shuttle and sends Kowalski and Stone in different directions. Now Stone has to get back to Kowalski.
But things just keep getting worse. With her air diminishing, her options very limited, and with very limited training, Stone has to find out just how deep she can dig to survive the seemingly un-survivable: being stranded in space.
Gravity is beautifully shot. This is because it is technically nearly perfect. The science might not be spot-on, but that is not important. This is a movie about a human being who doesn’t have a family or a life to return to, so she has to find out just exactly what she is living for. Her answers are inspiring.
It’s also a film about the man versus nature at her harshest and most alien. And at her most cruel– because she has no interest whatsoever in man, and can’t be bothered to notice man in his/her desperate state.
Everything that could go wrong, does. Every calamity that could realistically happen in the confines and vastness of space, does. The pacing is heart-stopping and the movie is intensity defined.
Since I can’t say enough about why this movie is so good, I’ll keep this brief. Here you have a smart, flawed character going on the most incredible of journeys. You can’t help but notice how magnificent is creation, even when she’s desperately holding onto a space station to not get swept away. Her journey is challenging, intense, and never lets up. She has to discover who she truly is, deep inside.
The acting is flawless. The story is flawless. The filming is astonishing.
This movie is as near perfect a movie as you will ever see.
Just go see it already.
Content warnings: Some salty language.
Writing: 5 Acting: 5 Overall: 5
Just go see the movie. For Pete’s sake.