Review: Gravity makes use of empty space

Leo Schnepf, Staff Writer
October 21, 2013

Have you ever experienced a challenge? Have you ever had a bad day, or perhaps been a little scraped up? Well stop complaining. Just stop it. Because I’m fairly positive that you’ve got nothing on Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuaron’s new space thriller, “Gravity.”
Here’s the scenario; Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are making hands-on modifications to the Hubble Space telescope, when suddenly a Russian missile (of course it’s the Russians) intended to destroy one of their own spy satellites, misfires and causes a giant chain reaction that results in an epic space tornado of destruction and general cosmic malice.
This tornado catches Ryan and Matt and leaves them floating in space, with limited oxygen, no communication with Earth, and no clear way to make it back to the surface alive.
“Gravity” excels on so many levels. The story of the human will to survive is one we’ve all heard before, but rarely has it been presented in this manner, and through a performance as convincing and dynamic as was delivered by Bullock. Although the concept is familiar, Cuaron’s choice to set it in outer space makes every choice, and every second of ripe suspense matter so much more.
For example, instead of just having to figure out a way to make it across thousands of feet of dead space to a space station, Ryan has to do it on limited experience and oxygen, not to mention the eminent killer space cyclone headed her way.
The idea for the script isn’t anything special or new, but it’s well developed, and delivered at a tantalizing pace.
However, it’s not the script that this film will be remembered for, but rather the technical achievements in cinematography that the movie managed to accomplish.
Take, for instance, the first shot of the movie; it’s seventeen minutes long. That’s right; SEVENTEEN FREAKING MINUTES WITHOUT CUTTING ANGLES. Not to mention the genius idea to keep the camera floating, giving the audience the impression that they’re right there in the middle of it all with Sandra Bullock.
Even without ridiculously long takes and clever camera movement, Gravity would stand out as a visual sci-fi masterpiece. The shots of Earth and the cosmos are breathtaking, and the composition of some of the shots within various space craft echo’s (dare I say it?) the late Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I could honestly watch this movie without sound, and simply be entertained by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s jaw-dropping cinematography.
“Gravity” is what cinema is supposed to be: attention consuming storytelling, gallery worthy visuals, and Oscar nominating performances. I would implore everyone to see this movie, “Gravity” is larger than life, and should be seen on something larger than your television. So move over John Krakauer, because “Gravity” makes “Everest” look like a cakewalk.

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