It’s rare that you hear hype surrounding a film before you go see it and it lives up to all your built up expectations. Gravity and more specifically its visuals and Sandra Bullock’s performance have been raved about with plenty of Oscar buzz. All is warranted! The tone is perfect, Sandra Bullock delivers a measured performance in a demanding in many respects role and the visuals are at times stunning.
Sitting through it my thoughts alternated between wondering how they made the film and how it was really just a character study set in space rather than a true Sci Fi film. Alfonso Cuarón’s (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men) film obviously involved many talented people in front of computers and plenty of green screens. Still somehow they manage to make it realistic and non CGI feeling. It manages to make you feel the immenseness of space. While watching it at times I guarantee that due to the 3D (one of the few films that warranted my extra $2 so make sure you see it on IMAX 3D, if possible) you will feel like you are floating in space alongside Sandra and George.
Speaking of Sandra, this is a completely different role than we are used to seeing her in. In other words, she is not playing a blonde, gum snapping strong Southern lady or a goofy but attractive woman in a romantic comedy. Her character is in a fight for her life for almost the entirety of the 91 minute run time of the film. Bullock makes that fight seem real with all the layers she adds to the character through her voice, facial expressions and body language. She carries the film on her fit shoulders (Sandra obviously trained for this film) pretty much alone except for the few scenes she has with Mr. Clooney and she does the story proud.
The film is both big and small at the same time and manages to do both justice. With space as its backdrop you feel the immensity of it all and with Dr. Ryan Stone’s (Sandra Bullock – The Proposal, Speed) fight for survival it is brought down to the immediacy of one human’s life. Despite the fact that it happens in that immense environment the very human ideas of life and love are what is important to the film. That tricky juggling act is handled with aplomb by everyone involved.
Surprisingly I was tense almost all the way through. Hands clenched in fists, jaw tight and legs fidgety. The mortal peril that Dr. Stone is in really hits you hard and you know it is only with an incredible amount of will that she will get through it alive. It is a rather simple story (written by Cuarón and his son, Jonas) yet will keep you interested as it continues to unravel.
It is an intense experience, but not a film for everyone. Some will not go deeper than the surface and just describe it as a film with Sandra Bullock floating around in space. They will not use a little brain power to see the human elements of love and loss behind the story. It is really a story that did not necessarily have to happen in space. The crux of the matter is Sandra Bullock’s character getting to the bottom of whether she believes life is worth fighting for or whether she should continue floating through it.