Film Review: Gravity

GRAVITY

During a routine spacewalk, astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are caught up in debris caused by a Russian missile strike on a defunct spacestation. Stranded above the Earth and running low on oxygen, they must do what they can to survive.

There’s not much point in talking about Gravity without starting with how it looks. From the opening shot to the moments the credits role, the film is a technical marvel. It’s freakin’ gorgeous.

Director Alfonso Cuarón initially wanted to make Gravity a fair few years ago but was not satisfied that technology was advanced enough to take his vision to the big screen. However, with various technological advancements, was finally able to make the film he wanted to make, and to stunning effect.

Never before has the line between CGI and live action been quite so blurred. The teams at Framestore and Prime Focus have done an amazing job and the biggest compliment I can pay them is that it made me genuinely believe the whole thing was filmed in space rather than Pinewood and Shepperton Studios in London.

For a setting so vast, the attention to detail is staggering (you’ll not find anything about factual inaccuracies here). From Sandra Bullock nonchalantly brushing past debris during a spacewalk to the inch perfect shot composition, Gravity is a film that is so meticulous in its construction yet so simple and natural in its presentation.

Floating high above the Earth, there is no up, no down; everything just revolves and spins in zero-gravity and its a genuinely immersive experience. You really feel as if you’re floating there with them, and part of that is due to the 3D. I’m no fan of 3D whatsoever but it feels so intrinsic to the overall effect of Gravity that I would urge everyone to cough up the extra cash and give it a whirl in 3D. It’s not gimmicky or distracting; it just really helps convey the vastness of space.

It’s not all style, though, and thematically there’s plenty going on. There are themes of rebirth, loss, hope and even evolution. At time it also clearly uses Kubrick’s 2001 as inspiration.

GRAVITY

Clooney and Bullock are the leads here, and to be honest, they’re pretty much the only characters in the film. Bullock takes centre stage, however, and delivers a superb performance. She’s fine when Clooney’s wise-cracking at her, but it’s the times when she’s on her own that stand out as she really helps convey her loneliness and helplessness.

The film isn’t perfect, though. It’s easy to get blinded by the visual splendour of the film, but I had a few (minor) issues. The dialogue, Clooney’s in particular, is a little on the corny side and does briefly pull you out of the experience. It sometimes feel like a George Clooney character rather than a character played by George Clooney. My only other gripe is that the story is a little repetitive. It occasionally felt like a series of set pieces rather than a fluid story, each time something else going wrong and putting the astronauts in danger. Repeat to fade.

These really are only slight issues though. Gravity is a film that should not be missed and on a technical level deserves to be mentioned alongside films such as Metropolis2001Titanic, etc. So do yourself a favour; find the biggest screen possible, sit back and just drink it in.

4 and a half pigeons

4.5/5 pigeons

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51 thoughts on “Film Review: Gravity

  1. Issy R. says:

    Great review. I pretty agree with everything you said. This is a type of film that everyone should experience.

  2. vinnieh says:

    Great review, sure looks like a film that you experience as well as watch.

  3. table9mutant says:

    Agree. Agree. And… Agree! :-) Was less bothered by Clooney than you were (but still agree with ya on that too!). It just didn’t really bother me and it was all about Bullock’s character for me anyway. I thought she was great in this. And, since Wall-E is one of my very favorite films, the “Wall-E bit” (I try to stay a bit spoiler free in comments too) made me really happy. :-)

  4. chris2508 says:

    A well- written review here Chris. I cannot wait to see this in the cinema, sounds intriguing and beautiful.

  5. Everyone seems to be in agreement that this is an outstanding film. Can’t wait to see it!

  6. Excellent work Chris. Watched this last night; will be compiling my thoughts very soon.

  7. CMrok93 says:

    Quite the beaut to watch. It truly was, however, the script was an ultimate let-down that made the poor characterization even more noticeable by there being only two characters present the whole time. That’s if you don’t include Ed Harris’ voice. Nice review Chris.

  8. Caz says:

    Spot on review! It really is an incredibly stunning film to watch!

  9. ckckred says:

    Nice review. This is my favorite movie of the year thus far and it’s stunning to watch.

  10. elina says:

    I finally saw it yesterday and loved it, but I agree that the script was the weak link. But other than that, gorgeous, and I’m glad Cuaron stuck out these years and waited for this technology, because it worked so, so well. Great review, Chris!

  11. Brittani Burnham says:

    Great review! This really was a beautiful film. BTW – totally random, but I love when you give ratings with “half pigeons” The little pigeon butt just makes me giggle.

  12. jjames36 says:

    Though there are plenty of historical inaccuracies, I agree: this thing is awesome. Well stated.

  13. Great review! We are pretty much in agreement over this one!

  14. Tyson Carter says:

    Another day another person raving about Gravity. Might take the baby to this, sure she will end up fancying George one day :)

  15. ruth says:

    Hi Chris! Glad you finally saw this one and love it too! “For a setting so vast, the attention to detail is staggering…” SO true! I was blown away by Cuaron’s meticulous details on nearly every scene! I hear ya about Clooney, it’s like he’s just pretty much playing himself, ahah. But I guess it kinda work for the role though, it creates a nice contrast to Sandra’s character who’s far more uptight. But really the star here is Bullock, I’d think she’s a shoo-in for this year’s Best Actress nominations!

    • Hey Ruth! The attention to detail really was amazing. Considering a large chunk of it was CGI, they really went to town on it and added stuff in that wouldn’t have been missed were it not there, but just helped add to everything. I’d say Bullock will definitely get a nomination, I’d be very surprised if she didn’t. Good enough to win? Not sure on that one yet.

  16. Glad you liked it – totally agree it’s an incredible visual spectacle.

  17. Mark Walker says:

    Nice write up Chris! I’ll be hitting the IMAX this week hopefully. :)

  18. sati says:

    Glad you rated it so highly! I had no problem with the dialogue – I thought certain elements here had to be simple to make the story easy to relate to. As for Clooney this is just such a brilliant casting choice. No one else can charm the audience and make us feel safe like he did when he was in the frame here. I think he wasn’t himself, his character was just tailor made for him to play.

    • The dialogue didn’t stop me enjoying the film at all, it was just a minor criticism on my part. I just felt that in such a dangerous place Clooney’s character was just a little too comical, wisecracking every time he spoke. But I do agree that that makes it more relatable rather than just having everything super serious all the time.

  19. Zoë says:

    Awesome review! I really want to get to checking this out!

  20. JustMeMike says:

    Wonderful review. I’m on the same page because the story going in, seemed to be limited if not hampered by the structure. Astronauts cut adrift – which leads us to will they be saved or not. Not really all that different from Hanks and Castaway. Only Hanks didn”t have to worry about oxygen. Or the solo sailor in Life of Pi.

    I think it is intrinsic to the ‘sole survivor’ genre. But as you and most say – it was beyond incredible to see. Simply this is a great filmwhere the technical artistry is at the forefront rather than the telling of a wonderful story.

  21. Monkeyboy says:

    Great review! Everyone seems to love this! Will finally get to see it some time next week. Can’t wait!

  22. Glad you liked it! Gravity is an exceptional film that brings out all kinds of different emotions in you. It’s insightful, intelligent, thrilling and original. Alfonso Cuarón crafts Gravity out with everything he’s got with the end result being a visual masterpiece enhanced by Sandra Bullock’s remarkable performance and Emmanuel Lubezki’s bewitching cinematography. It’s films like Gravity that remind me why I love going to the cinema.

  23. Love both, the silent gem, ‘Metropolis’ and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001:Space Odyssey (you’ve mentioned here) . Can’t wait to watch this.

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