Monday, October 7, 2013

Film Review: Gravity

As I always state...its rare when I get to go out and see a film in the theater these days.  Typically its only for a film I "have" to see in the theater or its a kids film that I'm just along for the ride for.

In the case of Gravity I actually got to combine the two instances.  Though PG-13 rated I chose to bring my 8 year old son with me.  In truth there is nothing contained within Gravity that is any worse than anything something like The Goonies which was rated PG and contained just about as many swears plus a number of cocaine and sex comments.  I find the change in how movies are rated and perceived very odd--we've become MORE conservative in that area than we used to be...

Regardless, if you are considering bringing your child to Gravity you may go right ahead without fear of being embarrassed by language or visuals.

I attended the film with both my 8 year old son and my 71 year old father.  To say that all three of us greatly enjoyed the film is a feat not accomplished many other places in movies.  Gravity is all that its reviews have said it is.  Visually stunning (we saw it in regular old 2D), emotional, meaningful, technically accurate, thrilling--everything.  I do put it as the best film of '13 that I've seen thus far.

I've been watching Alfonso Cuaron for a while now starting a while back with the wonderful Y Tu Mama Tambien, which in combination with Amores Peros launched the career of Gael Garcia Bernal and then the brilliant Children of Men with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore.  Gravity takes a very different tack in that it essentially has only three characters--George Clooney as astronaut Matt Kowalski, Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone and "Space" itself as the antagonist.

Bullock, in a tightly cropped haircut is excellent, evoking the androgynous nature of Sigourney Weaver in Alien until, like Weaver's Ripley, she removes her spacesuit and exhibits her very feminine body.  Ryan Stone is a damaged character and through the course of the film she is transformed from one who is literally being towed along by Kowalski due to her own failings/inexperience to one where she is "reborn" from water (of course) a completely new being.  The message of film is one quite familiar to those who have watched movies over the past 30 years or so (as I assume you have seen Shawshank Redemption).  Though not stated directly to the viewer as it was in that film the phrase "get busy living or get busy dying" is driven home.

Note that I haven't mentioned much about the technical aspects of the film including the realistic zero G reactions of the characters, their environment (Cuaron has removed, gasp!!, sound from exterior space shots as there is no sound in space!), and equipment.  It really is wonderful viewing.  The ships interiors and exteriors are beautiful and detailed in a way only a director at the top of his game could capture.  Its the story, characters (including the relentless and uncaring Space itself) and emotive quality of the film that is the value here as without it, the movie could have all the whiz-bang technology it wants and still be found lacking.  Its rare when I actually recommend a film but this is one I would ask a reader to go see but I would make an exception here.  Its damn good and worth every penny, whatever format you see it in.


Dan O. said...

Good review Dan. Worth the watch, especially on the big screen. Nothing else like it.

Dda said...


You know that I really thought the film was great. One - if not the best - that I've seen in many years.

(How they got Clooney to do this, and speak the lines he did was amazing)