Gravity

Summary:

At its core Gravity is a wonderfully tense sci-fi thriller. The feeling of isolation is incredibly overwhelming and the long takes in space are truly breathtaking. Visually the film is outstanding and is one of the rare films that is enhanced by 3D. The minimum use of score and sound enhances the feeling of being stranded in space and the movie is able to play on this wonderfully. The film is story telling at its finest and makes wonderful use of beautiful symbolism and narrative symmetry. Dr. Ryan Stone is the movie’s main focus and watching her rebirth and character transformation is an incredibly wonderful experience. Gravity is a masterful film and easily one of the best to come out of 2013.

Gravity had me sold from the very first trailer. After being stressed out from the first two trailers I swore off watching anymore in an attempt to experience this movie as fresh as possible. The going in blind experience more than paid off and Gravity has easily become one of my favorite movies of this year. Beautiful, stressful, and overall satisfying, Gravity is simply amazing.

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A bio-medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), embarks on her first space walk while on her the space shuttle mission Explorer. When a debris shower crashes into the shuttle it causes a chain reaction of destruction that leaves the two astronauts stranded out in space with no communication. Together the two must work together to survive with little oxygen and no transport.

GRAVITY

Gravity’s story is simple but it’s story telling at its finest.  The primary theme of the film is letting go and moving on, and it works wonderfully against the backdrop of space. The overwhelming feeling of isolation for Dr. Stone and Kowalski is ever present and the danger is captivating. Much like the trailers, the film greatly stressed me out and I found myself constantly holding my breath throughout the film. The film really hones in on the dark beauty of space and the terror of being alone.  Gravity is also one of the rare films that is greatly enhanced by the 3D. The extra depth perception really hammers in the feeling of isolation with our characters seemingly floating out right in front of the screen with a beautiful depiction of Earth in the background. The 3D also enhances the feeling of zero gravity with all the random objects within the shuttles floating around in and out of scene, and even more so with the debris shooting past our characters outside on the space walk. This extra depth adds so much visual satisfaction to the film, that my only gripe is not being able to see it in IMAX 3D.

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Dr. Ryan Stone is the main focus of the film and her character arc is incredibly rewarding from beginning to end. I’ve been reading a lot of Dan Harmon’s story circle, which is a streamlined version of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m gushing here but Gravity follows this to a tee.  We get to witness the rebirth and growth of Dr. Ryan Stone and the film adds in so much beautiful symbolism and wonderful story symmetry that it’s hard not to get caught up in the cyclical nature of the film. I want to go a little more in depth with this but it’ll feature a lot of spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie please skip the next few paragraphs.

Story Spoilers

We learn in the film that Dr. Stone tragically lost a child after an innocent playground accident. She’s alone and unable to move forward from this event and her life has been greatly impacted by this ever since. This theme of loss and facing death, as well as letting go and moving forward, is so wonderfully depicted in this film. When we first meet Dr. Stone she is timid, awkward, nervous and easily frightened by the space walk. When the debris crashes into the shuttle she is flung into orbit and violently sent spinning out of control without being able to stabilize herself. This Dr. Stone gives in and panics while easily accepting her death. However, Kowalski eventually rescues her and the two embark on a journey to get home. Through small talk Kowalski learns of her child’s death and begins to comfort her and advise her on the importance of living life to the fullest even after dark times.

Through the course of the movie we watch Dr. Stone undergo change, eventually losing Dr. Kowalski and having to fight for herself. There’s a scene in particular where Dr. Stone finally makes it to ISS where we get to see her symbolically shed all her emotional baggage (her space suite) and watch her rebirth into a Dr. Stone that is now able to remain calm and alert, let go, and focused on getting home. It’s little symbolic moments like these that make the film so visually and narratively rewarding. I could go on and on about this but I’ll leave it up to you to discover. It’s seriously wonderfully done.

End Major Spoilers

I’ve got admit going into this film I was a bit worried about the inclusion of Sandra Bullock. Though I never doubted her talent wise, she seemed to stick out with the tone of the movie. I’m happy that I’m eating crow here because Sandra Bullock’s performance is simply perfect. George Clooney is wonderful as well, and easily plays the smooth and ever calm Kowalski. The two work great together and are able to deliver some humorous banter despite the heavy setting.

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Visually the movie is outstanding and is accompanied by a wonderful score. The incredible long takes are truly awe-inspiring and offers some intense moments of dread. The decision to omit audible explosions and sound in space is greatly appreciated and the film is able to play on this. There’s a scene in particular with Dr. Stone letting out frustration by screaming and pounding on control panel. The scene is very moving and very chaotic and when the film cuts to outside the shuttle everything is quite again and the contrast is moving. This continued use of minimal score and sound helps to enhance the feeling of being in space. These little details all culminate into a truly masterful film and are able to deliver an experience that is truly breathtaking.

I’m very hard pressed to find any negatives that aren’t more than being nit picky. The main focus on Dr. Stone leaves little room for any other characterization, but it’s understandable. This lack of characterization does make some moments of the film a tiny bit overdramatic as well. The film also tends to overstate its lessons and it feels a little heavy handed. Finally the dialogue can be a bit cheesy but it’s a fine border between cheesy and funny so for the most part it works. Plain and simple I love Gravity. There are few movies that are able to deliver an experience like this and it’s worth every second.

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At its core Gravity is a wonderfully tense sci-fi thriller. The feeling of isolation is incredibly overwhelming and the long takes in space are truly breathtaking. Visually the film is outstanding and is one of the rare films that is enhanced by 3D. The minimum use of score and sound enhances the feeling of being stranded in space and the movie is able to play on this wonderfully. The film is story telling at its finest and makes wonderful use of beautiful symbolism and narrative symmetry. Dr. Ryan Stone is the movie’s main focus and watching her rebirth and character transformation is an incredibly wonderful experience. Gravity is a masterful film and easily one of the best to come out of 2013.

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Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic
Email: ThinkCinematicReviews@Gmail.com

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