Film Review: Gravity 3D (2013, Alfonso Cuarón) ★★★★

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After a mid-orbit catastrophe destroys their shuttle, two astronauts, Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (Clooney), find themselves adrift above the Earth’s atmosphere with their oxygen running dangerously low. With  all contact with Houston lost,  they begin desperately trying to figure out a way home. 

The film opens with a black screen and just a caption, stating life in space is “impossible” (primarily due to a distinct lack of oxygen) — we then cut to a view from God's balcony; a glowing view and curvature of the Earth dominating the forever-night of outer space. From the get-go, the visuals are breath-taking and it is easy to forget that these are, in-fact, CGI effects as they are utterly mesmerising.
I'll be the first to admit that I have never been a fan of 3-D and will avoid it if I can. I have often stated that it is merely a phase or fashion in cinema, as seen in the 1950s with Hitchcock, the 80s with horror flicks, and the 90s with Sci-Fi and at this current moment in time with anything at all. However, in the case of this particular release, I maybe eating my words as the 3-D provides a depth of field that was made for films like this. 

Before the debris storm, sounds of the space suit, radio and conversations back and fourth between Ryan, Kowalsky and Houston flood the ears of the viewer creating the perfect contrast when the pair are left alone, adrift following the destruction of their shuttle and all contact is lost. The silence Ryan once said to be her favourite thing about space, is now her personal horror. The noise is now nothingness and we are made aware of the deadliness of the once seemingly perfect atmosphere where 'no one can hear you scream'. 

Now floating through space, here is where the character development  and true themes of the narrative can fully be explored. We soon learn that this is not a film just about space and a "will they, won't they?" cliffhanger but a film in which space is a metaphor for a never-ending abyss and spiral of nothingness that Stone has found herself in, long before she journeyed in to outer space. As such, the film focusses strongly on the rebirth of a woman who has decided she has nothing to live for following the death of her daughter. There are several symbolic moments throughout in which can be suggested to be the death and rebirth of a woman who cares not if she lives or dies and follows her as she is transformed in to someone who strives to survive. This creates a depth and truly moving context which I can only assume is meant to inspire.  This is furthered still, of course, is space itself shown through the spaces created by the direction. The juxapositioning of the never-ending, dark depths of the universe against the claustrophobic, womb-like setting of the pod as Ryan is reverted back to a childish state where she hallucinates, is cradled by the pod and looks back on her life really makes this film what it is.

Gravity presents a heart pounding, visually stunning and powerful projection with underlying subject matter. In conclusion, Gravity gets a Sophie star rating of 4 out of 5 stars for the reasons listed above plus the performance by Bullock which, no doubt, shan't go unrecognised as the Oscars near ever closer. So what made it shy of that fifth star? Honestly, it's hard to put my finger on it but I just felt as thought there was something missing or possibly moments which I found too conventional thus preventing it from being my film of my year. All-in-all, a worth while and visually stunning film with moving themes. Definitely worth a watch, not 100% sure it's worth the film of the year title though. 

Until next time film fans, 

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2 comments:

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