Entering into the months of the ‘awards season’, new releases hoping for nominations typically take a light-hearted route to the academy’s heart through a simple yet well told narrative. Alfonso Cuaron’s new release, Gravity, however couldn’t be further from the story presenting a film of aesthetic beauty but also narrative minimalism. Despite this, having already been praised worldwide by audience and critics alike, Gravity shows to live up to its hype being surprisingly deep in its narrative and breathtakingly astonishing in its visuals.
After an accident on a satellite sends debris hurtling through space a medical engineer ( Sandra Bullock) and astronaut (George Clooney) must work together to survive after being left adrift. Gravity is very much a film driven by its characters as appose to its plot, with the story being all but told in the opening 5 minutes. For this to happen the characters involved must be sufficiently ‘meaty’ in order to create a connection to the audience, and whilst this connection does form it comes with little help from the characters themselves. Instead the films impeccable visuals engross the audience into the film so much that the characters become instantly believable in a setting which is plastered with detail, looking like a duplicate of space itself. Perhaps shadowing over the impressive visuals is the pitch-perfect score, used terrifically throughout to amplify every emotion, as well as being used sparingly to allow times of silence to make the empty scenes of space even more uncomfortable.
This is a good job as whilst both protagonists are as interesting as each other, they both carry their unique burdens. George Clooney puts in a terrific performance, as to be expected from a veteran actor of his calibre however the screenplay does little to ground his character, being handed unrealistic comical jokes to perform in scenes of panic and fear which simply feel out of place, reminding us of the charming ‘Clooney’ and preventing us from getting more involved within the film. As for Bullock, her character is sufficiently explained and enough depth goes into her struggle to survive however she is at times let down by her own seemingly unenthusiastic performance, failing to reflect necessary emotions for certain scenes which downplayed moments of sadness as well as rejoice.
That said these issues only occur periodically throughout and are certainly minor issues within the artistic triumph of Gravity which tells a story of such perceived minimalism in a way in which makes the audience analyse every step of the narrative. Gravity presents its themes in a touching and subtle manner, allowing its audience to piece the messages together before there’re made more obvious and even invites debate into what these messages even are. Overall Gravity seems to be a film which contradicts typical Hollywood fodder, knowing exactly when to stop; being unnervingly realistic and subtle, detaching itself from its wonder to be a humble cinematic achievement.
8.5/10- An excellently told short story of great depth and power.