Gravity is a long-awaited and well-overdue film from Children of Men director, Alfonso Cuaron. After Children of Men’s success in 2006, Gravity had big shoes to fill. Critics were expecting another great movie to come from Cuaron. He has done just that and created a work of art that is visually, technically and poetically beautiful, following astronauts as they cope with the disaster that is unexpectedly thrown upon them.
The story begins with Houston informing three astronauts working on the Hubble Telescope that a Russian satellite has blown up and is sending a mass of debris their way. Main character, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), the NASA bio-engineer on her first space mission, has difficulty breaking away from her platform. Unable to escape from the flying debris in time, one astronaut is killed and Stone along with her fellow astronaut, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are left alone, adrift in space.
Moving forward, in a heartbreaking moment, Kowalski forces himself to disconnect from his harness holding him to Stone as they try to reach another space craft. Stone soon realizes that she is now alone, with absolutely no one to communicate with. From this point on, Bullock has the stage to herself for the remaining hour. Stone falls into immediate survival mode knowing she has to do everything in her power to keep herself alive. Bullock does an excellent job at portraying this during one of the most terrifying experiences a human could face.
Cuaron doesn’t fantasize on the imaginary, he shows the realness of how fragile life can be. With this, he has crafted a masterpiece of imagery. He has placed his audience right in action along with the actors by the use of well-constructed zero-gravity shots in sequence with the tremendous point-of-view cuts of the astronauts.The IMAX 3D further added to the real life touch. Throughout, there’s vast silence much like it would be in reality. When sound is present, it’s so life-like, viewers believe they are within the screen experiencing it as well.
While Gravity takes place amongst the stars for the greater portion of the 90 minutes, it isn’t about a space mission gone wrong, but instead a harrowing tale of one’s longing for home after being placed in an “I could die alone out here” situation. The greatness of this film is it’s visuals, effects and craftsmanship, but the influence lies in what it gives audience members that isn’t physical. It’s thought-provoking and sentimental and leaves viewers with an intense experience that truly goes above and beyond.