Review: Gravity

Director: Alfonso Cuaróngravity

Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Rating: ★★★★★


by Michelle Buckley

I have never seen 3D viewing as an integral part of the enjoyment of a film…. and then I saw Gravity. I have not experienced that kind of ‘technology awe’ since my first experience with 3D viewing a Space documentary at the Science Centre Imax years ago. It is clear to me now that 3D cinema is made for films about space.  Gravity makes full use of this technology to elevate already stunning visual effects to a whole new level; somehow I managed to get motion sickness even whilst sat in the comfort of the cinema. The film could have had absolutely no story and I would have been content to sit there for the duration of the film floating around in space – except it did have a story, and an incredibly compelling one at that.

For a lot of people, being tied to George Clooney alone in darkness is a dream come true. Not so much for Sandra Bullock’s character, medical engineer Ryan Stone as she and Matt Kowalski (Clooney) are adrift in space with no way home. Stone resigns herself to dying almost immediately after the accident that leaves them stranded but lucky for her, Kowalski has enough determination to live for the both of them. Personal tragedy has left Stone with little desire to live other than to work: ultimately the story centres on her rebirth – her choice to live, to fight, to survive. The imagery of her like a foetus in the womb when she enters the space station was a little on the nose for my liking but it gets the message across.

It is a difficult thing to make a film entertaining with only two characters and minimal action, yet in Gravity’s case it works. A large part of this is down to the strength of performances from both Bullock and Clooney.  Even within the limited confines of a space suit they both manage to convey believable emotions as well as complementing each other beautifully; it also proves that there is no circumstance in which Clooney doesn’t ooze charisma. I like to be balanced and I tried very hard to find something I didn’t like about the film, and all I could come up with was Sandra Bullock’s wig. It seems their CGI budget didn’t allow much money for wardrobe and the wig is unflattering and unconvincing. However, this is a small superficial problem (as she has a helmet on most of the time anyway).

It is clear to me that the Oscar buzz Gravity has received is not unwarranted: with all the reboots nowadays it is refreshing to see a film like this – something completely unlike anything you’ve seen before. Sure, it has a stunning backdrop but the concept itself is simplistic. There are no unnecessary distractions so you are able to become completely immersed in the world focused only on the characters and their journeys. Gravity is far more than just a film; it’s an experience. I have always loved films for their ability to transport me to worlds outside my own, and never has this been truer than in the case of Gravity.