Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Gravity was one of the most anticipated films of 2013. After being pushed back almost a year for post-production, becoming THE movie to see at TIFF, and then coming to have incredibly high reviews, it definitely become a film that had really high expectations. Personally, it's a film I've been pretty hyped for for a while. I had first heard about Gravity almost 2 years ago. Having loved Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, had heard how great Children of Men was, and being set entirely in space, I was pumped. Space I always find fascinating. And this movie did not disappoint.
Gravity starts off it's story with a routine mission. Matt Kowalski is on his last mission before retiring. Ryan Stone is on her very first. They are just doing a simple, routine mission of going to make some repairs on the Hubble Space telescope. But when Mission Control alerts them that debris from a Russian anti-satellite test is speeding towards them at incredibly fast and destructive speeds, they aren't able to go for cover in time before the debris arrives. Completely annihilating anything in it's path, Ryan Stone finds herself detached and spinning out into the void until Matt Kowalski is about to attached her to him. And then to find that they are the sole survivors of the attack, and don't have long before the debris will strike again. So they must find their way to safety.
While this is a somewhat simple story, of 2 astronauts trying to find safety, and eventually, to find their way home, it is told incredibly well. We have an objective and that is the focus of the film, told by Dr Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock. It's an everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. But that does not seem unrealistic for a movie that has debris destroying everything in it's path, and for a movie set in space. I would imagine it's quite easy for something to go deadly wrong.
But the thing everyone is talking about is how good this movie looks. Which, to say, looks impeccable. The graphics never looks fake, even for a single moment. And Cuaron employs many long shots that it feels as though the whole film was taken in one shot almost. The film starts with a long 13 minute shot, which is incredibly beautiful and effective. It gives the movie such a different feel, since Hollywood seems to be obsessed with short shots and lots of editing. Cuaron and his team give this a very long and realistic look. The long shots make you become drawn in and makes it feel more real. Having seen this is 3D (and I always have trouble seeing things in 3D), but this looked so great. It wasn't flashy 3D, but gave the film depth. You could really feel exactly how deep and vast the space around our 2 leads is. And how scary it is to become lost in it.
Additionally, the score and sound was almost spectacular. There is much debate about whether Cuaron should have included a musical score or just left if silent. I think a score was risky, but the one that was composed was perfect for what this film was. It was subtle enough that it didn't intrude, and blended in with typical "space noises" using the beeps, and radio static frequently heard. Also, while I did not notice this myself, but had a friend point out that we only heard things the characters touched, which the sound would come from the vibration of them touching it. The small, small details that Cuaron is able to pick up on is astounding. And while there are some inaccuracies to this film and it's science (which Cuaron readily admits), it's an incredibly effective film that has a very wide audience appeal. Gravity, because of it's simple yet powerful and emotional story, and it's amazing graphics, is a film that an incredibly wide audience can find they love. This is a film with a very wide appeal and that is something that doesn't come around that often.
Of course, with awards season coming up, this movie has gained immense Oscar Buzz. And I can say with complete confidence, it deserves it. With pretty much all the technical awards locked down (if not locked down for wins), we also have the possibility of some of the bigger awards. Sandra Bullock has gained much buzz for her performance. She truly did a great job and it's the best I've ever seen of her. Yes, it was a lot better than The Blind Side. As well, we have Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. I would not be surprised if this film ended up with possibly 9-11 Nominations.
And personally, I would not complain if it was the big winner and took home Best Picture. I loved Gravity a lot and feel like it would be something very different to win Best Picture, and with it's wider appeal, would be a great choice. Though we'll see and right now I'm not counting on a win. Just crossing my fingers at this point.
Posted by Heather Martin