First off, I will admit that while I used to transport myself to the movie theater at least once a week in the past – life, kids, work responsibilities have dismally reduced this extravagance to once a couple of months… which is why, when I post these, you will get a sense that I covet this experience like the Cookie Monster covets his cookies (which in fact is true. Not that I don’t love my cookies…).
A few MINOR SPOILERS ahead – I hate it when other people spoil it for me, so I will do my best to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. First, the basic premise, courtesy of IMDB:
A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
Were you one of those kids who thought you wanted to be an astronaut when you grew up? While there are a few space films that have been done before (Apollo 13, anyone?), I have to say this is the first one that will not only let you experience that deep subject of space, but transport you there…. or atleast put yourself in the shoes of protagonist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock). While at first glance, she wouldn’t immediately come across as the protagonist – she is hurled, whipped, projected, into the role — an underdog whose cold, broken-hearted negativity and despair is well contrasted with Matt Kowalski (co-star George Clooney), the other more charismatic, charming lead in the story. Fear is something we can all relate to, as is the case here – she may not have much to live for, but as we discover, there are fates worse than death that can propel one to reconsider life as a better alternative, even in the worst cases.
While the story, the situation itself is a straightforward one, a space mission malfunctioning leaving astronauts stranded and forced to find a way home, the visual execution of this film is in a word: mind-blowing (especially in 3D). Stone herself, as we discover is a fairly complex character – and that’s the beauty of this film: space being a subject that’s vast, complex, ever-evolving, director and writer Alfonso Cuaron still manages to keep it simple as a contained thriller – a vista explored and unexplored, beyond our wildest imagination. Diverging from the hollywood casts of thousands, endless blockbuster sets, here we have two major characters representing various character archetypes in a single location with the only nemesis being nature itself.
Who said movies only imitate reality? Cuaron, through ‘Gravity’ is a proven radicalist who changes this by making us abandon our theater seats to go into space, somehow juxtaposing us there and yet managing to keep us in the present without giving us a chance to relax. Stone is alone but so are we… and while there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a script it seems (since much of it is an experience and improvised), Cuaron offers us some great lines as well (case-in-point, when Stone the seasoned astronaut says: “I hate space.”) Everything is real time, saturating our senses- we are not only watching her, we are hearing her, feeling her – experiencing every jolt, every turn that by the time we get to the end, the whole movie has just speeded by.
To conclude, ‘Gravity’ is a testament to the ongoing saga of movies and oscar-contenders each year – that despite the marketing norm, the ‘tried, tested and true’ theory, doing something that no one has ever done before can still work when combined with brilliant execution and in Cuaron’s case, an understanding of his audience, physically as well as emotionally.
So – what did you think of ‘Gravity?’ Feel free to post in comments.