Rugger Review: Gravity
Summary: On a routine mission to the International Space Station, a medical engineer on her first trip to space and an astronaut on his last must work together to survive after a devastating accident leaves them adrift in space.
Alfonso Cuaron came onto most peoples radars when he directed the third installment in the Harry Potter franchise. He followed that up with the post-apocalyptic cult film Children of Men (2006).
He has since spent the best part of seven years perfecting his filmmaking technique to make what is arguably the most impressive film of the last decade.
To give too much away would be to spoil what Gravity does best. It keeps you guessing, and while it does, it moves you closer and closer to the edge of your seat.
If you have long fingernails, expect to lose them by the credits. What makes Gravity work so well is that few of us have ever been in space and therefore don’t know what to expect from one situation to the next.
It makes each scene more anxious than the last and ratchets up the tension to unbearable levels.
Cuaron’s direction is just beautiful to look at. His Harry Potter is regularly ranked as the top film in the series and Children of Men is masterfully shot with a “how-did-he-do-that?” 6 minute unbroken shot which makes you wonder how could he improve.
Yet improve he does. The opening shot of Gravity is 12 minutes long, completely unedited, until disaster strikes. It is a lesson in how to open your film and immediately mesmerize your audience that many directors should be taking notes.
The decision to convert to 3D also works wonders, adding depth to the vast surround of space and drawing us closer to what many of us will never see. It is without a doubt the best use of the technology since Avatar (2009).
What really captivates though, is the performances. As the cock-sure pilot, George Clooney does his best George Clooney but the standout is Sandra Bullock.
Revealing layers to her character throughout the film maintains the audiences interest in her survival and better yet, has you rooting for her until the end.
To say any more would be to spoil the journey, but the special effects, the smart use of 3D and the brave, brilliant performances all combine to make it one hell of a ride.
Final verdict: With enough tension to induce heart failure, Gravity succeeds by giving audiences a jolt to the nerves from start to finish and is one of the greatest technical achievements of this millennium. Once the credits roll, it may take you a while to come back down to Earth.
Star Rating: 5/5
* Review by Stephen Connolly