Posted October 4, 2013 by in


Total Score

5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: action-adventure, science-fiction, thriller
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: 10/4/2013
Studio: Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros. Pictures), Esperanto Filmoj, Heyday Films
What We Thought

Gravity gets the pulse racing, yet is moving enough to stir the heart on an emotional level.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Gravity is a triumph—as an action-adventure, as a special effects film, and most importantly, as human drama.
     Two astronauts find themselves free-falling through space after a debris shower destroys their space shuttle and any communication with N.A.S.A.  Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is running out of air in her suit, and Commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is running out of fuel in his jet thruster pack.
     Their journey through space just above the Earth’s atmosphere is marked by beauty and awe.  Massive white cloud formations roll across the planet’s blue and green surface just below them.  The sun reveals itself in the darkness behind the Earth, crowning the living planet with the halo of dawn.
     The International Space Station draws closer, and not a moment too soon.  Stone and Kowalski hurtle towards the I.S.S., tumble across its body, grasping desperately for anything to grab on to.  It’s one of many tense action scenes.  Gravity is only 90 minutes long, but feels much shorter.
     And yet the film knows when to slow down—if only for a moment—and let the audience catch its breath.  During this time, we get to learn about the story’s heroine.  Stone had a daughter who died in an accident, a loss she never recovered from.  Her situation, drifting through space, cut off from everyone, is not much different than her life on Earth, devoid of anyone to mourn her if she does not return.  The journey she’s thrust into, ironically, is a bleak metaphor for the solitary life she’s chosen for herself.
     Bullock gives a strong performance as Ryan, going to deep, elemental places such as fear, desperation, and out-right panic.  When her character is confronted with her own mortality, that she will likely die this very day, we believe it to be true.
     Director Alfonso Cuarón films the thriller three-dimensionally in very long takes. It’s dizzying, vertiginous—as it should be.  In virtuoso moments, the camera sweeps inside the space helmets for a first-person experience of what the astronauts are going through.
     As a special effects film, Gravity is state-of-the art.  The effects are so convincing that, more often than not, I looked at them without being conscious that they were special effects, and instead accepted them as reality captured on film.  There are a few exceptions, such as a sequence where a module catches fire that doesn’t look 100% like the real thing—but not far off, either.
     Gravity is a one-of-a-kind thriller that gets the pulse racing, yet at the same time, is moving enough to stir the heart on an emotional level.  It’s a film about how the past can pull on us with the force of gravity, and only by confronting it can we break free.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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