Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a scene from "Gravity"
"Gravity" tells of the unenviable situation experienced by medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and her astronaut mission commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) when an accidental disaster caused by a shower of satellite debris destroys their space station, leaving them floating in deep space.
Director Alfonso Cuaron has created a masterpiece that knows when to move for excitement and when to stop for meditation. We enjoy the breathtaking ride through the dangerous outer frontiers. We also get to look inwards to the essence of our own minuscule humanity in stark contrast to the vastness of the universe. We will feel agoraphobia and claustrophobia at the same time, while Stone and Kowalski struggle to keep themselves alive.
"Gravity" is not much of a story to be told by mere words, but a story that needs to be experienced best via the medium of film, and all its modern abilities.
This film employs the best of cinematographic technique (by Emmanuel Lubezki), editing efficiency (by Cuaron himself and Mark Sanger), top-of-the-line 3D visual and eerie sound effects to re-create the harshness of outer space. The musical score by Stephen Price can be both soaring and quiet as the scene called for it. I truly see ALL the technical Oscars going to this fantastic team that created the most convincing atmosphere for this film to come to life.
There may be some scientific principles amiss as some incredible coincidences arise to move the story forward. However, we care so much for our two characters that these minor details done in the name of artistic license can be overlooked with no big deal. The film successfully makes us feel emotionally connected with them. We really feel we are out there with them, and we want to escape this scary and hopeless situation with them. Just allow yourself to be immersed in this unique milieu.
Bullock comes up with a precious performance of a lonely person desperately confronting the biggest fears of her life in the bleakest of situations ever. Her range of emotions ran the gamut from fearful despair to hopeful determination. She is front, center and everything this movie is about. She did not lose her sense of humor when we also needed it. This has got to be a Best Actress performance of the highest merit.
Supporting Bullock is Clooney as that believable voice of calm and reassurance we all need. With him there, Ryan felt she can overcome any adversity she faced. His wit and charm carried Ryan through her ordeal, and this was palpable enough to carry the whole audience along the ride with her.
"Gravity" might as well be declared the Best Picture of this award season already. As of now, it can already be considered a lock for the big prize because of its audacity of scope, its technical excellence, its memorable performances, and above all, its images full of artistry and symbolism.
This film needs to be seen on the big screen for the best effect. Watching this in 3D (and most likely, IMAX) will actually further enhance your viewing experience. 10/10.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."