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.
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 Metropolis, 2001, Titanic, etc. So do yourself a favour; find the biggest screen possible, sit back and just drink it in.