Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gravity (2013) - A Non-Horror Review

Don’t let go…

I am a huge fan of survival stories, be it in literature or film. Lord of the Flies, Hatchet, Cast Away, I guess you could even toss LOST into that mix (I struggle with merely calling it a survival story), but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like the Sandra Bullock fronted Gravity. Boasting an impressive 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Gravity has been an interest to me since I saw a preview at the midnight pre-release of Evil Dead back in April. Going into it, I was excited, but I was also a bit nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the hype that it had been receiving; absolutely EVERYONE has been raving about this film. 

And, well, I guess I’m no different. Let’s get into it below.

Title: GravityDirector(s): Alfonso Cuaron
Writer(s): Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron
Producer(s): Alfonso Cuaron, David Heyman
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Studio: Esperanto Filmoj, Heyday Films
Running Time: 90 minutes
Release Date: October 4th, 2013 (US)

There’s something scary about being stranded, and I mean anywhere. In a city that you aren’t familiar with, even in the grocery store when you lose your parents at 8 years old. Be stranded somewhere like, say, the middle of the ocean, and scary turns to terrifying. But what about being stranded just outside of the Earth’s atmosphere? That’s when you step into the realm of infinite terror. 

This is the situation that we find Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and veteran astronaut Matthew Kowalski (George Clooney) in when the debris from a destroyed Russian satellite takes out not only their crew but their ride home. What follows, are 90 minutes of the most intense ride I’ve been on in a very long time. I’m talkin’ white knuckled, hair on end, bated breath intense. Now, yes, anyone would say that this situation is terrifying, but it’s the small little intricacies that Cuaron takes care to present that make it so much more than that. This becomes evident when Stone starts barrel rolling out into space, after the initial impact with the debris from the Russian satellite. I don’t mean that she gets knocked away a little bit, she is pummeling out into space with no way to stop. Gravity, or lack there-of, is a bitch. 

In case you were wondering, the graphics were amazing. For a film with a 100 million dollar budget, they had better be, right? You are treated to some absolutely beautiful shots of our home planet, including sunsets from orbit and cloud formations. I’m normally not a huge fan of 3D, I don’t hate it, but I don’t necessarily think that it’s always a necessity. However, I would recommend seeing this one in 3D/Imax if given the opportunity. The immersion experience was unreal, and only made the film that much more engaging. The 3D effects were subtle, not silly and overplayed (i.e. OH MAN, DID YOU SEE THAT CHUNK FLY RIGHT AT YOUR FACE? LOLZ). In addition to the effects, the cinematography was amazing as well. Some of the shots in this film has stuck with me for days since I’ve seen it. Many of them I was replaying on a form of mental rewind as I walked out of the theater. 

Now that I’ve discussed the intensity of the film itself, the graphics, cinematography, etc, I want to focus on the true high point of the film. Sandra Bullock. She is back, and my goodness, is she better than ever. Over the course of this film, you are introduced to her as one character and as the film progresses you see her grow into an entirely different character, one that you have not only become attached to, but one that you feel emotionally drawn to. Keep in mind, this all takes place over the course of 90 minutes. Ninety. She didn’t need the two and a half hours that most drama’s need to establish emotional connection. I get misty eyed thinking of her performance, it was absolutely and completely mind blowing. I remember, while walking out of the theater, turning to the buddy I saw it with and simply saying “I know who’s taking the Oscar this year”, I will be putting my money on that when Oscar season comes around next February. 

As I said yesterday, I know that this is not a horror film, but I also know that this film had me gripping the edge of my seat more than half the shite that Blumhouse has presented to us in the last couple years. If you are wanting to go to the theater to have a true experience (yes, you may cry a little bit), then this is the film for you. It will not only leave you with your jaw dropped, it will leave you with plenty to think about in the coming days, and that is the mark of a truly great film and work of art. 


- Rg Lovecraft

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. It has some of the best visuals I've seen since Avatar, and continued to have me more and more involved with the story as it went along.