Image courtesy of Gravity

As the end of the year approaches and we look back over it and discuss various end of year lists, Alfonso Curan’s Gravity will surely sit at the top of the ‘most hyped’ list.  In the last few months it has been seemingly impossible to stay away from trailers and posters of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney facing the great beyond.  Even it’s eventual release has done little to stop the onslaught with it being labelled far and wide with hyperbole like film of the decade/year/ever.  Taking that all into account if it manages to live up to such hype it must surely be something special.

Gravity tells the story of Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) who are stranded in space after a Russian mission strike on a defunct satellite, causes a cloud of debris to begin orbiting the earth at high speeds.  Beyond that you probably don’t wish to know anything else, it’s a film that it’s better to enter with little knowledge of what is about to happen.

This is a movie that many have proclaimed will show the doubters that 3D can be a spectacular visual treat and there’s no denying that those weren’t empty boasts.  From the opening shot, which shows the great emptiness of space with the earth in the background.  All the way through to the ending, this is a film that looks spectacular.  The vast emptiness that surrounds them is made so much more real by the depth that the 3D provides.  It does make you wonder whether it will actually translate to 2D or if this is the first film that might only work with the daft glasses.

However, the images are just one piece of the intricate puzzle that is going on on the screen.  It’s hard to discount the sound as being what truly makes this film, as they have the bravery to go completely silent as things hurtle around the screen in the depths of space.  While whoever is responsible for the use of Sandra Bullock’s breathing to signify moments of panic and worry deserves an Oscar to themselves, as it adds to the tension like nothing else in this movie.  If this film doesn’t claim nearly every technical award the Academy bestows then I will be very surprised.

If there is any place that this film fails it is in the script. Stone and Kowalski are as straightforward characters as you can get.  While the conversation between the two of them is as clichéd as you are likely to find in a movie this year.  Clooney is in full on cheese mode throughout and it is hard to get along with his characters calm, suave meandering attitude considering the hell that he is currently going through.  On the other hand it is Bullock’s performance that holds this film together, and she is consistently fantastic throughout as you begin to believe every moment of panic she is going through is as terrifying for her as it would be in reality.

Gravity is without a doubt a fantastic film.  I don’t however feel it is a film that is going to seriously redefine Hollywood or the way we watch movies.  It’s a one off that will be mimicked quite a lot but never bettered and while it’s 3D is fantastic I can’t see it turning the tide on that particular disaster.  It’s a film that uses it’s gimmick perfectly and knows exactly what it is.  You will go along and it will keep you gripped throughout but when you walk out and walk away you are unlikely to sit at home and feel any great emotional change come over you.

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