Three visits to the cinema in just over a week? That’s as many trips as I took in a lean five month spell between June and October.
But it seems to me that good films – proper films – are held back until the summer is over. These are the good times for the fan of the more “distinguished” movie presentation.
Anyway, the latest film I’ve seen is one that has been getting a huge amount of praise in the USA and one that has finally made its way across the pond, Gravity.
Gravity Review: What’s It About?
An accident during a space walk leaves Sandra Bullock and George Clooney stranded in the void and struggling to find a way back to safety.
Gravity Review: Who’s In It?
Gravity Review: How Highly Is It Rated?
Very. 97% on Rotten Tomotoes, 95% on Metacritic and 8.5 on imdb from over 125,000 votes.
The critics love it as well, with the minimum rankings being 4 stars.
Gravity Review: (Spoiler Free) Thoughts – A Rare Breed.
There are different types of film and the ones I’ve seen over the past week highlight that.
Thor: Dark World is a big-budget but light Superhero movie; the “Blockbuster”. It has a thin plot, merely reasonable acting, practically no drama and a helluva lot of special effects.
Captain Phillips on the other hand is more of a story. Comparatively little has been spent on special effects, there’s no CGI, but the drama, plot and acting are high.
Gravity meanwhile is the rarest of breeds in that it combines the best aspects of both. Not only does it look amazing – and when I say that, I mean that; it looks a-maz-ing – but it also scores highly for me in terms of the drama and plotting.
Both Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are very good in their roles, and they have to be. Two-handers are a difficult thing to get right without seeming dull, but in this case they manage it with aplomb. Similarly, there are parts of the movie where isolation means that there is only one character on screen for long periods and they work too. The actors must take credit for keeping things interesting.
But the real star is the director, co-writer and producer, Alfonso Cuarón.
His vision for this film is – and I say this knowing that there’s a toe-curling pun here, even though it’s unintentional – is out of this world.
In an age where special effects make anything seem possible, this still managed to be breathtaking. For all intents and purposes, this looks like it has been filmed out in space. Indeed, if you’d shown this to someone 20 years ago, they’d just have assumed it was. Everything looks bang on.
The best bit for me though is the way Cuarón manages to seamlessly change perspective. Without any obvious cuts or transitions, the camera angle moves from a general perspective to seeing things through Sandra Bulllock’s eyes and then back again. It heightens the drama, it makes you feel like you are there with them and it amplifies the viewing experience.
What’s more, this is definitely a film you should see in 3D. You know that I’m highly critical of 3D films, but this is one where you’d be missing out if you don’t. In many ways, this is like a work of art, and it’s best shown in the form of a teardrop that weightlessly floats away from Bullock and towards us. Within that teardrop, you see the reflection of Sandra Bullock encapsulated within.
This Isn’t A Science Fiction Movie
I think some people – people like my mum for example – will see the poster for a film called Gravity set in space and think it’s “A Star Wars” or something like that.
While Gravity is set in space, it’s not science fiction. It’s a highly tense, claustrophobic drama with well-rounded, realistic characters, but it just so happens to be set in space.
There’s a distinction to be made.
As much as possible I’ve kept this spoiler free because I don’t want to ruin anything for you.
So I’ll write this bit in white and if you’ve seen it, you can highlight it…
There was a part where I thought they might ruin it when Clooney’s character returned and I thought there was no way that Bullock would have survived that prolonged exposure to the vacuum of space, but thankfully, that turned out to be a hallucination.
Apart from that, I have no issues at all, and even that isn’t really an issue anyway.
Gravity Review: Should You Go To See Gravity?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Gravity is one film that everyone should go to see.
It’s a highly tense and emotional drama, but like I said earlier, it’s also a work of art and a joy to behold.
I’ve spoken time and time again about how Side Effects has been the film to beat for me this year, and I even felt that Captain Phillips has perhaps done it.
But this leaves them trailing.
With two talented actors and a visionary director, and with an appropriate running time that will mean that nobody will get bored, this truly is a breathtaking cinematic experience.
Go and see it.