Gravity – Movie Review

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The first time I heard about the movie Gravity was when I saw the trailer. A week later, I couldn’t recall what movie I had gone to watch, but I could still recall that trailer. The advertisement was memorable because it frightened me. I wasn’t scared because it was spooky. I was terrified at the thought of tumbling endlessly into space. I’m also petrified of that spinning-out-of-control or fast-falling sensation. I get that feeling oftentimes when falling asleep and it scares the piss out of me. The good thing is that this same fear instantly intrigued me. I needed to know what this movie was about.

The story was interesting, but nothing terribly new. The casting was appealing and the cinematography was breathtaking. This movie looked to be beautiful, disturbing and emotional, simultaneously. I knew straight away that this was the kind of film I would have to go see on opening night.

Unfortunately for me, when opening night finally came around it was Cristoph’s turn to pick our cinematic destination. He had a few in mind, but (lucky for me) narrowed it down to Rush and Gravity. He knew I wanted to see Gravity (he did too), but Rush looked really cool. He couldn’t decide so I suggested we flip a coin. He agreed to that and I ran to grab my wallet. I then quickly dug out my half dollar coin figuring that the larger coin would make the outcome more official.

Gravity

Heads and we would watch Gravity, tails and it would be Rush. Cristoph took the coin from me and tossed it into the air. It landed on heads and with that, we quickly grabbed our things and headed for the door. We thought about seeing the movie at our local theater and then remembered the last time we did that on an opening night (Insidious: Chapter 2). Subsequently, we decided to go the theater 20 minutes away in the suburbs.

We got there just in time for the next showing of the film. As we bought our tickets the guy in the ticket booth asked if we wanted to see it in 3D. We hadn’t thought about it, but decided to go top shelf with this one since it was Friday night.

After collecting our 3-D glasses and tickets, we quietly and hurriedly made our way into our theater. The place was nearly empty because it was early and because the prices for 3D movies are fucking insane. As if staged, the lights dimmed mere minutes after we sat down. Our timing had been perfect.

Our first encounter on this journey is Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). He’s an accomplished astronaut on his last mission to space. Matt is retiring and he’s enjoying every moment of this final experience. Joining him are Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Engineer Sharriff (Paul Sharma).

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Ryan is on her very first shuttle mission, struggling to keep her food down and her thoughts in order. Kowalski, on the other hand, is shooting the shit with Mission Control whilst floating around, weightless and carefree. He’s the commander of this final spacewalk to service the Hubble Space Telescope and he likes a good time.

While Ryan is working on the telescope, Kowalski receives impromptu orders from Mission Control. Debris from a Russian missile strike has caused a catastrophic chain reaction of destruction and it’s headed their way. They’re instructed to abort their mission immediately.

Gravity is the story of Dr. Ryan Stone. She survives that initial pummeling of space junk, but doesn’t know if she has the chutzpah to make it back to Earth. Ryan isn’t even sure if she wants to make it back. This film chronicles both her emotional and physical struggle for survival.

George Clooney is eternally charismatic as Commander Matt Kowalski. Clooney brings us an amiable astronaut in Kowalski. Matt is the voice that pulls back Ryan from certain obliteration, multiple times. He’s a talker and likes to tell stories. He is also well liked and will be missed when he retires. Best of all, he looks like he’s lived an interesting life, the mischief in his eyes attests to that.

I liked what Clooney did with this role. He brought a rather comforting aspect to the chaotic nature of the storyline. Clooney enhanced the cinematic experience making the most of his unearthly capacity to charm the pants off of any living organism wearing pants.

Sandra Bullock counters Clooney’s charm with her sensible and systematic portrayal of Ryan Stone. At first Stone seems incapable of any emotion outside of panic and unease, but slowly her determination and fortitude rise to the surface and then finally thrust her into self-discovery.  Bullock presents us with a nervous and depleted Ryan Stone—struggling from the moment we meet her on screen.

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Bullock’s portrayal of Dr. Ryan Stone is delectable, emotional torture. Ryan is having a hard time. While she’s focused and efficient with her work, it’s clear that she’s feeling overwhelmed. Just as Ryan begins to settle into her tasks pandemonium envelops her world. To put it bluntly, Bullock blew me away with this performance. She made me experience so many different emotions that I actually felt spent by the time the credits rolled. I cried so many tears that I gave up trying to hide them and instead let them flow.

In other words, this is another Oscar-worthy performance from Sandra Bullock. She conveys such a delicate balance of somber reality and optimistic inspiration that you have no choice but to become 100% invested in her character’s survival. She’s unapologetically flawed, insurmountably sad and yet she refuses to go down quietly. Bullock’s performance is precise and deeply moving. The sorrow she puts behind Dr. Ryan Stone’s eyes alone is remarkable.

The only aspect of this movie that rivals Bullock’s performance is the phenomenal cinematography.  This movie is gorgeous. If you can suspend scientific reality long enough to accept everything that is happening on screen, you will truly feel like you’re floating alongside Bullock.

The performances are stellar and the visuals that accompany them are outstanding. It’s nice to see that the #1 movie in the world (as of Friday, October 11, 2013) is a thing of beautiful substance for a change. If you haven’t, I strongly suggest that you see this one. If you can, go see it in a movie theater. I can only imagine how diminished the outer-space sensation would be if you watched this on a TV (yes, even a large one). Trust me, you’ll probably enjoy this one greatly. Now, go put on some pants and go hit your local theater. You can thank me in left over popcorn.

 

 

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Gravity – A

A = Movies this good don’t happen often and If you’re going to watch something you should watch this. This is exactly what I go looking for when I go to the movies and I trust you’ll enjoy it if you keep an open mind and give it a go.

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