Directed by Alfonso Cuarón • Written by Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón.
With George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
Anyone familiar with form, when it comes to the creative forces behind some of cinema’s most exciting and innovative films, can be excused for having a degree of over-excitement about any new feature from Mexican director, Alfonso Cuarón. With Gravity, there’s a homecoming sense of justification that this brilliant visual artist has finally been given the widespread recognition his talent deserves.
The set-up is simple; astronauts in space face disaster when word is given from mission control that bullet-speed debris is heading their way. Of course, doing anything fast in space is hard, and dangerous. Cue the chaos.
Essentially, this is a story of survival. In that sense, Gravity offers nothing new, as we’ve seen countless ‘man vs nature’ films over the years from Open Water (2003) to Frozen (2010), but nothing that has been done thus far can compare to the sheer scale of ambition and downright awe-inspiring beauty seen in Gravity.
Of many big, visual films, it’s often observed, “this is as film you need to see in the cinema”. I can’t think of an example of a film that would better fit that advice. Cuaron and his teams have created something that feels completely unique and new. Many reviewers felt that the film showcased the future of cinema, which it does while at the same time reminding us of the unfettered possibility of the medium.
With so many breathtaking optical wonders occurring left, right and centre, it’s worth emphasising that Sandra Bullock gives a tremendously gutsy central performance. Without her, things might rattle along well enough, simply because of the eye-popping visual splendour – but Bullock’s presence ensures humanity, lending her accessibility and likeability as an actress and in turn, allowing heart and soul to bleed and merge with the technical magnificence on display. George Clooney, another impossibly likeable actor, co-stars with Bullock – perhaps as some have observed, channelling a little too much Buzz Lightyear for comfort, but is still a solid and good-natured presence.
Not seeing Gravity in the cinema is denying yourself. It still plays well on DVD, depending on the size of your television, and the human survival aspects remain fully intact, thanks to the performances. There are disaster films, and then there is Gravity. 5/5