Review: Gravity (2013)

Gravity is old school but groundbreaking, spectacular but deep and action-packed but tense. This is the best cinematic experience of 2013

Life cannot exist in space, or so the cryptic opening text of this masterful film asserts. From that point on Alfonso Cuarón’s newest film, proves to be a masterful cinematic experience. Since the film was a hit at this year’s Venice Film Festival, hype has been astronomical and for once, here is a film that lives up to every single bit of it. Gravity on the surface is a very simple story of survival and some will see it that way, some will see it more as spectacle but those lucky ones who see Gravity for what it really is will get the most out of it. Not only does this film tell a story about survival of life in the harshest environment known to man, the film is a contemplation of life as a whole.

Gravity is a film with action and suspense equally measured but it is also a deeply accomplished thematic experience. Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón’s beautiful screenplay allows for a film that rebirths the soul, leaving you astounded and humbled. This is a grassroots accessible delivery of far reaching science fiction, with groundbreaking technology and scope. The space cinematography is exceptional and the special effects seamless. Blend this with the fact that Gravity is the first film you must see on the biggest screen possible and 3D since James Cameron’s Avatar.

Backed by a goosebumps-inducing score by Steven Price, what this film delivers is an involving, seat-clenching and involving experience. This film tips its helmet to the likes of Wall-e and Alien but shares more ideologically with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Some will no doubt find moments of slower pacing and one particular scene a questionable addition but in just over 90 minutes Cuarón takes you on a ride of emotion, excitement and fear. The film is not all weighted however and there are some thankful reprieves and fun. Especially when it comes to the exchanges between Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (Clooney).

Sandra Bullock delivers a career best performance here and solidifies herself as a Best Actress candidate. She gives Ryan a fearful presence and alongside the story, makes her development into a stronger person both believable and utterly compelling. George Clooney is infinitely charming as Kowalski and almost a catalyst for the entire film. Gravity has almost anything you could ask for in a Hollywood-scaled production, delivering a blockbuster with indie sensibilities. This is absorbing entertainment. To say it answers the meaning of life would be going to extreme measures but this film certainly suggests that we do not exist just to survive and then die but to live and tell our stories. Plus we have a cameo by a Looney Tune favourite!

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