Gravity (2013)

Poster courtesy of giantfreakinrobot.com

Concentrating on very few characters in the environment of space is a bold statement; it places a huge amount of focus on the technical aspects of the film. This is exactly what writer/director/producer Alfonso Cuarón has done with such beauty and style in Gravity.

From the trailers, we can see that the film’s narrative is minimal but that we follow Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Kowalski (George Clooney) in the aftermath of an accident, which sees them stranded, floating aiming to find back to earth. With the minimalist narrative, both the characters and technical aspects of the film had to be strong – and they’re even far greater than that.

At no point do any of the effects look like effects, they simply look utterly real. Cables mindlessly float into the centre of the screen and Stone batting them back out-of-the-way, this is such a minor touch but is vital in the world created by Cuarón.

Clooney’s Kowalski is desperately needed alongside Bullock’s Stone. Whilst Stone is intense and desperately worried of their situation, Kowalski is flippant and comical – the Clooney character if you will. The performances are both fantastic with the real sense of jeopardy and depth conveyed by both.

Thematically, Gravity is highly rich with many different themes being explored in the film. The idea of mental strength in the wake of disaster is a recurring motif as this is something that Stone quickly learns is required of her if she is to step on the earths surface again. Another idea relates to rebirth – especially after a disaster. There are certain images used within the film to invoke this idea, which also relate to the vulnerability of isolation.

The directorial choices of Cuarón certainly make the film memorable. There are long cuts and the realistic use of sound creates a natural feeling within the film with the audience firmly placed within the film. Cuarón literally taking the camera into a point-of-view shot from Stones helmet further explores this notion.

The use of the 3-D in Gravity is utterly astounding. Given the zero gravity environment, the use of perspective is key and something which the use of 3-D exacerbates. This adds to the immersive experience that Cuarón has created with the aforementioned techniques.

Gravity is an absolute marvel and provides thematic and technical weight behind what is a relatively simple yet utterly gripping story. Wonder and astonishment are provided within the photography whilst being ably guided through this terrifying notion of complete and utter isolation. With Gravity, Cuarón has made one of the true great sci-fi films that will live long in the memory and demands repeat viewing.

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