[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Letter Grade: B[/title]
Space: the final frontier, a place that has always seems exploitative and yet so vast and unknown. It encapsulates us and yet we hardly know how to describe it. How can a place that is so empty and mysterious to most individuals also seem like a comforting place in our universe? Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón’s newest visual masterpiece, attempts to answer that question through the narrative of Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a first-time astronaut who accompanies Matt Kowalshi (George Clooney) on his last mission to space as they try to repair a satellite. All is going well until shrapnel from a destroyed Russian-satellite derails their plan and sends them adrift into space.
Even though casting pegs this as a two-character tale, the story really revolves around the Bullock character, a lonely, self-depressed woman who uses space as a way to escape from her real problems on earth. Bullock give a heart-felt performance in this film and it is mind-boggling to think about what she had to do. Bullock rarely had anyone to work with in her scenes and somehow portrays this character whose grief is so painstaking that it often feels like the shrapnel shower was meant for her.
This film, however, is nothing without the direction of Cuarón. Most noticeably known for such work as Y Tu Mamá También, and Children of Men, Cuarón does things in this film that I did not think were possible. The camera moves so seamlessly through the commotion that it often feels like a character itself, while it also has the freedom to shoot any type of angle or shot it wants, giving the film a feeling of confusion and wonderment all at the same time. The camera also has the ability to go from these beautiful deep-focus shots to close shots, while also having these tight, personal camera angles that never feel clunky in 3-D.
It may be crony or on-the-nose. It might seem unrealistic at times–maybe the science is off, but Gravity does not spend time caring too much about that. What Gravity really is—besides being visually stunning—is a gigantic yet simple story about the will to live and how we must be comfortable with the choices we make and the penalties against us, even if it’s easier to run away.