Movie Review: Gravity

Minor Spoiler Alert

To be perfectly honest I didn't have high hopes for this movie when I first saw the previews. Another lost in space movie? I feel like the last thing NASA needed was a movie that depicted how bad their space program was doing. After all, this movie is about a maintenance mission gone wrong. Although this movie doesn't break any new ground in the premise it displays its genius in its execution of a classic “get out alive” scenario.

When I first read the synopsis I was somewhat disappointed in how simple it was. The story is based around two astronauts, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), who's routine maintenance mission goes awry when a series of crashed satellites forms a deadly debris field that is constantly circling in earth's orbit. So throughout the film there is always the constant threat of the satellite wreckage coming back around. While that may seem like just another detail it is actually an important aspect of the films overall construction. George Clooney received top billing right behind Sandra Bullock this story is predominantly about her character Ryan. When I say “predominantly” I mean exactly that, this story is about her first and foremost. While there is some chemistry between the two Clooney's character serves only to prod information out of Ryan that she otherwise wouldn't just say unprovoked or to herself for no reason. Through the banter they exchange throughout their ordeal we learn a lot about Ryan but one overall important theme; that she is alone in the world. However, we also learn that she was not always alone but that she once had a daughter that she lost to a tragic freak accident. “She hit her head and that was it”. This singular punctuating line does so much more than just briefly explain how her daughter met an early end but also communicates the sobering realization that this woman has little left to live for. If you're not feeling for this woman by now you either haven’t been paying attention or have no soul.

While George Clooney's character is very much the compliment to Ryan he does serve one more important purpose before his character meets his demise. In an ill fated attempt to escape the deteriorating situation various circumstances force Ryan to let Matt float away into oblivion or risk pulling them both adrift. A woman who has so little left to hold onto is forced to yet again let go, mentally and physically, of the most important relationship she has. If this story wasn't completely about Ryan Stone before it certainly is now. She isn't just required to try an navigate this impossible situation but she must now do it alone with only her intuition and a spotty radio transmission from Matt that eventually cuts out entirely. This woman is basically fighting for her life in the purest sense. With no family or friends to speak of and the scars of a child’s life cut short she is fighting for her life and only that.

By now you're probably thinking that this is more of a breakdown of the movie rather than a critique and to a degree you’d be correct. For me to critique a movie there has to be either some blatant errors or something that I can better explain better than the story did itself. Truth is there aren't that many mistakes in Gravity or room for much improvement at all. The simplistic approach to the storytelling ensures that there is not just little room for loose ends but also keeps the story intact and fluid. As much as it pains me to not elaborate more I really don't want to spoil the movie. The only advice I have to give is to the moviegoer and that is to see this movie in IMAX. If there has ever been a film suited for the IMAX venue it absolutely is Gravity. Although the stellar film-making is bound to shine through anywhere Gravity boasts breathtaking spectacles with stunning cinematography combined with lush sound editing that can only be fully appreciated on the most state of the art theater.

If you leave with nothing else know this; you need to see Gravity.

6 out of 5 Mustaches.

-Dirty Dave




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