Gravity (2013) Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
So we only review Clooney films these days? No, we have a couple of interesting reviews coming up that definitely do not relate to him. But since we are so bloody slow these days, we thought it would make sense to start with this one since it's still in the cinemas and everybody's talking about it. Gravity. The pull of the earth. And the lack of it in space. No pull. Just drifting. All you need, is to get us thinking about the space and we begin to feel small like ants. The reflection on our mortality and therefore temporariness and fragility begins with the image of the Earth from a far distance. That's what Gravity plays on; the fact that the space is still a very unknown factor for us humans, yet there it is as if holding all the secrets about our existence.
Gravity is a rather stylish film for 2013 or for a film that happens in space. My most disliked minutes are the last five that happen on the Earth. There's some painful underlining there. The film is not as stylish as Kubrick's 2001 though. Our imagination and knowledge about what being in space looks like, hasn't seemingly evolved since the 1960's. Gravity remains on the stylish and understated side of cinema for a good half of the movie. Then, for the misfortune of someone who likes a bit of narrative, it contents itself with the most obvious turns of events. What are the most obvious things that can make anyone cry in the audience? You'll find those tear-jerkers in this piece, I promise.
So the acting then. It must have been a difficult film to really play out, because most of it was clearly shot in front of a blank colored screen. I don't think you could give awards for the actors for acting in Gravity, because somehow they were just so small compared to the vastness of their set and scope. Still, I am pretty sure George Clooney and Sandra Bullock will both be topping the Oscar nomination lists. They are the recognizable superstars who were brave enough to act in stupid helmets. And we do see Sandra in her underwear, because hey, this is 2013 – skimpy sexiness has reached the outer space. And botox. Clearly, I don't quite agree with the hype.
As 2013 crawls into its final month, Gravity reminds how disparate and divided we are when it comes to opinions. Gravity is universally revered, the film's approval highlights the general lack of critical consensus in it being so liked by everyone. It's that rare film that people from all walks have got so excited about. So, what does it do to those of us who haven't seen it? It raises expectations. This year has been a huge raising expectations year for me personally. I've had high hopes for various movies, books and records and my football team. In all cases it's been slightly disappointing, which maybe makes me brand 2013 a bit of a let-down- in general terms. I guess you can see where I'm going with this?
It was this summer when I saw a long version of the trailer for Gravity. It raised those expectations. Then came the reviews, then the word of mouth. Then we went to see it. Fucking 3D. It's always an uncomfortable view, clunky glasses, darker resolution than usual, Gravity was apparently worth it. To be honest, I didn't notice it much, a few nice touches, but overall, the trailer had got my heart going without the 3D. Gravity is a spectacle, no doubt. For a good hour or so, very-edge-of-the-seat brilliant. People have commended the simplicity of the storyline (very bare), but somehow forgot to mention the awkward dialogue. The opening shot is homage to Kubrick, which actually tells us we've been here before. And that is part of my problem with Gravity.
Gravity is an impressive one-note-drama that unfolds with intent and little background information. But is that really the case and does it deliver any new thrills? Mainly 2001: A Space Odyssey, still looks more impressive than Cuarón's Gravity and it's how old? Yes, George Clooney is a reassuring presence, but he could have phoned in his performance. That leaves us Sandra Bullock. And this is crucial. She was cast it seems after virtually every A-lister turned down the role of depressed medical engineer Ryan Stone. Bullock brings the heart and unfortunately for me the sentimentality to the picture. She brings us Miss Congeniality and The Blind Side to Gravity's cool exterior. Is she good here? She's OK. Lets not even get into the faux spirituality that many have claimed gives a hidden depth to Gravity. So, this is where we came in. Gravity is a blockbuster for the multiplex, nothing more, nothing less, and on these terms, it's A-grade fodder (and nothing wrong with that). But with a little more care and weirdness even, it could have been so much more. Damn those expectations.