Watching Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is the closest I could possibly know what being in space might feel like.
There are a few memorable films about life in space including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apollo 13 and even Armageddon; but Gravity is different. In Gravity, there are no flashbacks to life on Earth, no shots of the control room in Houston and no supporting characters. The entire film takes place in space with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as our main characters.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a medical engineer on his first shuttle mission to outer space and Matt Kowalski (Clooney) is an experienced astronaut. What was supposed to be a routine mission turns into a nightmare when a major accident happens. The shuttle is eradicated, leaving Stone and Kowalski floating in space completely alone.
Miraculously, Cuarón (Children of Men & Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) captures both the majesty and terror of space. He and his son Jonás Cuarón wrote the screenplay that only gets better as each minutes passes. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life & Children of Men) created some of the best and most mesmerizing shots in film this year. Naturally, without actually filming the movie in space, the background is all CGI and with careful editing in post-production, Lubezki and Cuarón created a masterpiece.
The original score in Gravity plays a major character and is both gorgeous and terrifying. There’s never a weak moment in Steven Price’s (The World’s End) score and after listening to it both in theatre and at home, its one of the satisfying and original soundtracks of the year.
Sandra Bullock is a complete powerhouse in this film. Bullock did countless romantic comedies when she first started her career in movies and now she has graduated to an Academy Award winning dramatic actress. There’s no doubt that she will be nominated for an Academy Award in 2014 and if the Oscars were tomorrow, I’d put my money on her to take home the gold. This is certainly one of the most physically demanding roles of the year and by the end of the film, I felt completely out of breath, like Bullock’s character throughout most of the movie.
This is the ultimate 3D experience you could ever have in a movie theatre. Cuarón shot the film using 3D cameras and within the first few minutes of the film, as we see the astronauts seamlessly glide through space, we feel as if we are there with them. It’s definitely worth paying the extra few bucks to see the film in IMAX 3D to get the full experience, surround sound and all.
Gravity is one of the best films of the year and makes its mark in cinema as a game changer in the science fiction genre. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, emotionally brilliant and expertly led by Bullock, who gives the performance of her career.