Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Question of "Gravity"

Gravity (2013) is a fantastic film with solid work from George Clooney & Sandra Bullock. It’s essentially a two-character drama played out on the vast canvas of space. During a mission to perform service on the Hubble Space Telescope, a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite causes a storm of debris. The space shuttle Explorer is damaged & rendered unusable by the debris, and astronaut Matt Kowalksi (Clooney) and Mission Specialist Dr. Ryan Stone must get to the International Space Station. With a dwindling air supply and not many options, our heroes have to race against time to find an alternate way home. And that’s essentially the story; it’s a simple tale that is well told & excitingly played out.

The film is equal parts character study, science-fiction adventure and a survival against the odds thriller. Clooney & Bullock prove why they’re movie stars with excellent performances that play up the personality traits we love about them, yet add some depth to what could have been stock characters in the hands of lesser actors. Bullock in particular gives a fine, emotionally layered portrayal.The film is visually dazzling, with wonderful production design, effects work & cinematography.The 3D here is effective as well; while it's not overwhelming, it adds another level of depth & reality to the story, creating an immersive experience. While many current movies don’t seem worth going out to the theater to view, this is one film that cries out to be seen on an Imax screen.

Directed, produced & co-written by Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban), this is a meticulously designed, shot & edited film. Cuaron & his crew should be commended for producing one of the best-looking science-fiction films of recent years. There are some interesting perspective shots, camera angles & of course, those beautiful space & star field vistas you’ll view during the film. But for all its grand scale, there’s still a kind of closeness & a “you are there” feeling. You’ll sense that you’re right there with the characters as they experience every trial, tribulation & success as the story unfolds. At the time of this writing, Gravity is still in theaters; this is one of those movies that lives up to its advance hype; see it on the big screen before it finishes up its first run. Here’s a link to the film’s trailer:

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