- Released Internationally on 03/10/13
- Released in Malta by KRS on 08/11/13
3-word review: Go watch it.
Some films are beautiful, whilst others sacrifice the sweeping vistas and slow shots to deliver a fast-paced thriller instead. Gravity manages to do both, resulting in a film that manages to be gripping from start to finish, whilst still finding time to be a gorgeous feast for the senses.
Simple, always simple
The first beautiful thing about this film is its simplicity. Two astronauts - one a seasoned veteran (George Clooney) and one a first-timer (Sandra Bullock), are on a space walk when their mission goes very wrong. Cut off from their usual lines of communication and well-rehearsed procedures, they need to struggle to survive. That’s more or less it. No cliché pre-take off introductions on earth, no flashbacks, no deus ex machina. Just a simple, immersive story that leaves you stunned for an hour and a half.
As ground-breaking as the technical wizardry on display is, the film succeeds largely thanks to the wonderful presence of both Clooney and Bullock. Clooney is in familiar territory here, character-wise, as the wise veteran who knows all the tricks, offers a voice of reassurance, and never takes things too seriously. His calming presence is vital to his partner in space, whom Bullock instils with equal doses of insecurity and deep-seated determination.
A visual feast
Nowadays, it’s rare that I catch myself wondering ‘How did they do that?!’ when watching a film. I thought it a handful of times during this one. The sheer logistics of creating these completely convincing spacewalks and zero gravity accidents must have caused many a headache, but the end result makes you glad you have your 3D glasses on and a huge screen in front of your face. One scene in particular, as Bullock’s character enjoys a much-earned moment of freedom in zero gravity, is one of those priceless scenes where everything gels perfectly and makes you catch your breath.
Don’t let go
The film somehow manages to keep the tension and action going for most of its running length without ever getting tedious or tiring. Things keep going wrong, but not once does it feel far-fetched. The audience is toyed with continuously, given fleeting moments of security before they are pulled out from under us. This makes for a powerful human drama, the rise and fall of which is played out on the rate of Bullock’s breathing.
This is an astounding achievement in every regard. The eerie, pulsating music; the visual effects; the spectacular shots of earth; the great use of sound - it all comes with a sheen of excellence and feels so much better and cleaner than anything I can recall in many months. Easily the best film of the year so far, and one of the most accomplished pieces of cinema I can remember experiencing.