Gravity (2013) – Film Review

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Alfonso Cuarón’s latest effort is an immersive yet engaging tale of a space mission gone wrong as two astronauts struggle to survive as they drift aimlessly in this thrilling space drama.

The film revolves around the lives of medical engineer – Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut veteran – Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) as they embark on a repair task on the Hubble Space Telescope. Their mission takes a turn for the worst as after  being informed of an incoming chain reaction of space debris, the astronauts fail to evacuate leaving the debris to destroy their shuttle. The debris collides with Dr. Ryan Stone leaving her to spin uncontrollably until Kowalski tethers her onto his suit in order to reach the International Space Station in order to return to Earth, however in a matter of life and death, Kowalski detaches himself from Stone to prevent themselves from drifting. The film changes tone by exploring the lonesome medical engineer personal struggles in order to return to Earth with the constant threat of incoming space debris.

Visually a striking film, the cinematography alone provides a unique experience for the viewer. Throughout the film, the camera is constantly in motion, immersing the audience into the setting of the film. The movement of the camera changes constantly and explores alternate viewpoints of both the characters and the observational point of view we are often used to seeing. The constant and seamless transition between alternating viewpoints is particularly engaging for example, the faint hum heard as you see Dr. Ryan Stone breaking down in the shuttle from the outside or the distressing alarms as you spin in the viewpoint of Stone as she drifts uncontrollably. The constant change of perspective of the characters and their distance in relation to their surroundings is engaging.

Bullock convincingly portrays a woman who has experienced a heightened sense of emotional trauma, juxtapositioning her cold and introvert character against Clooney’s nonchalant nature. The portrayal of her character allowed the audience to understand the reasoning behind her constrained nature. Therefore allowing us to empathise due to her current situation and possibly relate as she suffers defeat but continues to persevere in light of the likely risk of her dying, in space, alone.

However during several points in the film, moments with high intensity made the film more enjoyable and engaging to watch as you became more involved with the story. The use of sound throughout the film, in particular the contrast between indoor and exterior spaces whether it was in the viewpoint of the character or an objective view is what made the moments thrilling and worth watching.

The film essentially proves how easy it is to die when you’re alone in space but also tests you at your lowest, allowing you to defeat your own personal struggles in order to achieve something once considered impossible.

After winning at the BAFTAS, Gravity is a worthy contender for Best Picture and a worthy performance by Sandra Bullock for Best Actress.

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
My rating: 8/10

Wafiq Airudin

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