As I watched the opening scene in Gravity, I was in awe. Right away, just seeing these astronauts float around on a routine space walk, the film was beautiful and thrilling. A few minutes in, a couple behind me in the theater remarked with a sneer, “Where are all the satellites and shit?” Their sarcastic question was more than answered and they didn’t make a peep the rest of the movie. I believe the whole audience was absolutely spellbound.
In Gravity Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer turned relatively inexperienced astronaut. As she and more experience astronaut, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) work together, we understand that space is not her element, but perhaps an escape from her troubles on Earth. During the opening space walk, satellite debris comes crashing at the astronauts, destroying much of the space station around them. It’s a horrifyingly beautiful sight to see and clearly sets up the fear and danger of being stranded floating in space. After the danger has passed, and Ryan and Matt are harnessed together, they realize their only chance of survival is to get to another space station, which means drifting through space in the right direction without running out of oxygen.
Many of the scenes are one continuous longshot. In fact, the opening scene is over twelve minutes without a single break. Granted, it is digitally edited from multiple takes to seamlessly flow into one continuous image, but still, my God their effect is amazing. Hitchcock might have been green with envy of all the suspense they produce.
One thing that seemed to damper the film when it was first released was how many scientific inaccuracies could be spotted throughout the film. For some people, that ruined it, if it’s not accurate then why care? Personally, I don’t find the inaccuracies to be a problem, let it be fiction and if it’s good enough, I’ll believe what I want to. However, when Ryan does nothing to stop those little bits of fire floating around the Russian space station, I got a little more ticked than concerned. Floating fire does not seem like something a trained astronaut would ignore.
At ten nominations, Gravity is tied for the most nominated film of 2013 with American Hustle. While American Hustle racked up the acting nominations, Gravity got its boost from more technical awards, including visual effects, cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing. It is also nominated for Best Picture, production design, original score, film editing. Alfonso Cuarón received his first Oscar nomination for best director and Sandra Bullock received her second nomination as lead actress.
Overall, Gravity is a captivating thrill ride of a film that clearly deserves all this Oscar love. From the moment those wayward satellites crashed in, to the very end, I was on the edge of my seat, nervous, excited and enjoying every minute.
“Because either way, it’s going to be one hell of a ride! I’m ready.”
Definitely a very good movie. I don’t like the score, but I’m willing to go along for the rest of the ride.
Thanks. The score wasn’t something that stood out to me. I’ve read something about how sound effects were integrated into the soundtrack, which may have boosted the score into its nomination.
I think the score is beautifully composed, and I would be willing to listen to it as a stand alone piece of music. I just think it hinders, not helps the movie as a whole. Often, I think viewers analyze a score based on its sound, rather than its impact on the film. And in Gravity’s case, I think it impacts the picture negatively, by simply replacing sound effects with music.
We never hear the silence Cuaron promises us, because the music is always so rousing.
Loved the look, feel and atmospheric build-up to this movie, but the script absolutely disappointed me. Felt tacked-on and at times, unnecessary. Good review Alyson.
Thank you. I have to agree, even my husband had complaints about the writing, mainly how Ryan’s back-story comes up in pieces rather conveniently to make her more sympathetic.
I can hardly say that this flick belongs to the collection of my favourites, but given the fact that I saw it a month ago and still remember most of it (which cannot be said about many movies), there must be something about the movie which makes it linger after one has left the cinema. I must say that the movie was visually stunning, which makes up for the fact that the storyline was rather forgettable. I think that the impact of the movie is mostly visual, but it did a good job mediating the emotion of a man’s feeling stranded and alone while at the same time showing how ingenious and incredibly tenacious one can be. I definitely agree with you on the fact that the lack of scientific accuracy does not drain the movie of its overall impression and I too think that Gravity deserves those Oscar nominations. Both Cuarón and Bullock performed more than well.
Thanks for commenting, this film lingered in my mind for a long while as well, not for the story but visually.
Great review. I think it will likely win most of those awards its up for.
Well, it just had to happen for this Special Effects driven film to get all this praise! This is the year that has ended my interest in the Oscars, as the 2 films I thought were the best (All Is Lost & Blue Jasmine) didn’t even get nominated and this piece of junk did. While I was impressed with the dazzling Special Effects and Sound, I fail to be impressed by two hours of listening to Sandra Bullock mutter to herself in a nonsensical, stupid story. If it hadn’t been for the 3D, I would have requested a refund. I guess, for me and Oscar, all IS lost. And to think that 2001: A Space Odyssey didn’t get nominated for Best Film and this clunker did! It’s a small consolation that, sitting at a bar the other night, all the other (over age 40) patrons at the bar trashed the film as well…so at least I don’t feel completely crazy! Think I’ll skip the Oscars this year!
Just a brilliant film. If either this or 12 Years a Slave snagged Best Picture, I’d be happy.