GRAVITY (2013) – Film Review by Paul Laight
If there is a better film to see at the cinema than GRAVITY this year then I can’t wait to see it because Alfonso Cuaron’s space opera is a masterful cinematic vision which combines beautiful vistas with knuckle-biting tension. Indeed, director Cuaron has carved out an impressive sci-fi story: economical, tense, thrilling, touching etc. which will deserve all the awards coming to it.
Sandra Bullock’s novice Space Doctor and George Clooney’s charming veteran Astronaut are on a mission to service the Hubble Telescope via the Space Shuttle Explorer but before they can complete the job catastrophe strikes. What then follows is a white-knuckle ride of tension and excitement with action unfolding with breathless pace. The writing is so lean and precise that there is little in the way of backstory before we’re propelled into the astounding action. I hate spoilers in reviews so won’t go divulge anymore but it is pure cinema at it’s finest and at times was so tense I felt like I was watching a space thriller as directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
The succession of events which befall the characters reminded me of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear (1953) as Bullock and Clooney are faced with all manner of life-threatening dangers. Bullock herself gives a sterling physical performance thrown from one side of space to the other while Clooney’s dulcet tones provide the kind of assuring voice to settle the nerves when you’re up space creek without a shuttle. There’s existentialist gold in the story too with the themes of life after death, birth and rebirth and above all else the struggle of the human spirit to overcome powerful adversity.
Yet it’s the muscular narrative, action and incredible cinematography which gave me the most enjoyment watching this. My advice is to watch it on the BIGGEST screen you can find. Even the 3D — which aside from the odd animated feature I hate — enhances rather than detracts. So, overall a big hit for me and while I wanted a more risk-taking ending from the filmmaker I cannot fault this film whatsoever.