by Alan Rapp on October 17, 2013

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Gravity
  • IMDB: link

GravitySpace and underwater films offer the unique juxtaposition to explore both vastness and claustrophobia simultaneously. With Gravity writer/director Alfonso Cuarón offers a tense thriller, a moving character study centered around a single performance, and a roller-coaster that provides some of the best action scenes of this year. The result is a thrilling 91-minute thematic experience which easily ranks as one of the year’s best films.

Seeing the film in 3D IMAX, Cuarón’s vision is breathtaking. Although George Clooney has a supporting role as a throwback larger-than-life astronaut who would have been right at home during NASA’s heyday when astronauts were the country’s greatest heroes, Sandra Bullock carries nearly the entire film. And she does it well. As Dr. Ryan Stone,  a scientist sent to work on the Hubble Space Telescope, Bullock becomes untethered and lost in the vastness of space miles above Earth when debris from a Russian satellite rips through the shuttle and leaves her without anyone to rely on other than herself.

My complaints with the film are minor, but worth mentioning. The largest of these being the film’s score. Although Cuarón uses silence and the vacuum of space to the film’s advantage, at times he allows an oppressive score (especially with the bass maxed out in the theater where I viewed the film) that unnecessarily leads the audience when Bullock’s performance and the amazing camera work are all that’s needed. The film’s ending is also a pat given the number of chances the director takes with the rest of the movie.

Gravity, more than any movie since Avatar, is a film that deserves to be seen in IMAX 3D to be fully appreciated. Although Cuarón may not be as clever with 3D  as James Cameron, and during some of the more turbulent scenes some shots become blurry, the director does make great use of the technology in various ways to fill the screen with the knick-knacks of a space shuttle or the debris field that continues to return like an unsatiated predator to finish off our protagonist.

Although I think those viewing it in theaters, especially in IMAX 3D, will receive a more complete experience, the film’s heart is Bullock’s performance and the amazing cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki which should translate just as well to viewings on the small screen. Given her recent win for The Blind Side, it will be interesting to see how much awards consideration the actress receives. Based on her performance, and the unique demands Cuarón’s script requires of her, I’d be surprised if the actress isn’t able to at least earn another Oscar nomination.

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