reviewed by Tom-Tom
Alfonso Cuaron certainly has directed a series of balanced films from children’s novel adaptations (A Little Princess, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) to the excellently realistic dystopian picture Children of Men. Now he brings us “Gravity,” a quiet yet dramatic film filled with a completely visceral performance by Bullock with spare but colorful dialogue shared with George Clooney, charming as always, brief quips with a competent fellow floating astronaut, and ground control. The music is appropriately serene, suspenseful, threatening, moody, and triumphant. The visuals are beautiful and stunning sometimes POV putting us in the shoes (spacesuits, rather) of Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, sometimes in close with the galaxy spinning around her, sometimes panned out to show how truly small the astronauts are. The physics are well thought out and Dr. Stone’s gasps and whimpers get a bit grating as she tries to work under zero G conditions. The action kicks in pretty quickly and the soundtrack seamlessly coalesces in a biting, thrilling tone more atmospheric than thematic but better for it. Clooney’s character Kowalski seems to be an all-seeing, all-knowing, perfect human being without whom Dr. Stone would be doomed in just the first few minutes of the film. A bit too perfect, I suppose. It’s intriguing how the film succeeds in being suspenseful without any affectation, how it depicts loneliness and loss with atmosphere and tones of voice rather than a verbose script. I have to admit I found it thrilling to see Sandra Bullock soaring headfirst through the various tunnels of the space station escaping a fire. This balance of serenity and suspense tempered with reflection of loss and loneliness provided such a beautiful counterpoint that I was immensely satisfied. The complications are all scientifically grounded, not just a mess thrown Stone’s way to deal with it. It is all solvable but only within a short timeframe hence the nail-biting suspense. Bullock is more than up to the task of holding the viewer’s attention throughout this emotional and action packed roller coaster through her vocalization and facial expressions which handle the variety of complicated feelings she certainly must be experiencing in the impossible situation she finds herself in. I found myself rooting for her the whole time even towards the very end of her journey.
“Gravity” is a fine and finely made film. I sometimes question not only the validity but the sanity of the choices for “Best Picture” Oscar nominations but “Gravity” deserves every accolade it received and even some of those it didn’t.