Film Review: They Should’ve Sent a Poet

review

Note: as part of Throwback Thursday, I’m posting this piece I wrote November 10, 2013, for my LiveJournal blog. I am planning to slowly move over anything of substance from LiveJournal to this one, with plans on turning the LiveJournal into something else.

Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón; directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Copyright 2013: seen October 13, 2013. Buy at Amazon.com.

Gravity is one of those rare science fiction films out there that destroys the stereotypes of what science fiction is and can be.

While the setting is space and this tale can only happen there, the science is in support of the story, not the cause. In other words, it’s a film that just happens to be in space – not a space film. And that is just one of the many reasons that Gravity is one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.

The story is actually pretty simple. Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, a medical engineer that’s been sent to the International Space Station to do some repairs, helped in part by astronaut George Clooney. But, as is needed in any type of plot, Murphy’s Law happens – and all hell breaks loose.

Director Alfonso Cuarón does a splendid job of keeping the location up and center. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous: the use of reflection and the beauty (and horror) of space made every scene stunning to watch visually. The long takes combined with the occasional times when we would see the action at an unnatural angle made me feel like I was right there with our small cast. The pacing is so perfect, you could sing to it: even the slow moments are needed in order to reflect and process the action, giving the audience a chance to catch their breath. Despite the 91 minute running time, this is the first movie in a long time I didn’t feel was too long: to cut anything would be like trying to take out one piece of a stained glass picture.

On top of that, the use of 3D only adds to the feeling that you’re right there along with the actors: there’s no “this is 3D!” moments you get in other films, where it’s obvious the person is moving toward the camera in order to make the 3D effective. No, this was the spinning of space debris and the floating of tears and the feel of gravity (or lack thereof), adding to the realness of the moment.

The use of sound, too, was well done. Cuarón holds steady to the knowledge that there is no sound in space, and uses the background music sparingly and effectively. The use of complete silence more than once once again adds to the realness of the movie, in both times of reflection and in times of agony.

Bullock’s acting is especially top-notch: if she doesn’t get an Oscar nod for this, I will be shocked. She carries a good chunk of the movie, and by the end, I was rooting for her to the point where I was chanting (softly, but aloud), “Come on, come on, COME ON!”

I typically stay through the credits of almost every movie I see: partly, it’s to see if there’s an end tag; partly, it’s out of respect for the movie making process. This time, however, I stayed because I could not leave: I had to process everything I just saw, and could only form the words, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” The movie is heartbreaking and wonderful and exciting and sheer beauty. It’s taken me this long to write a review because I was at a loss for words for how to explain how much I loved this movie. If you get a chance to see it, see it in a theatre – and see it in 3D.