Movie Review: Gravity
4.5 stars out of 5
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 22:10
“I could get used to it,” says Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, in the beginning of “Gravity” as she admires the silence and the vast, stunning view of Earth from space. Stone has yet to find out how much she would regret saying this.
Stone is a biomedical engineer in one of the crews of NASA’s space shuttle “Explorer” on her first space shuttle mission. A few minutes into her task, debris from a satellite crash into the spaceship, disrupting the tranquil silence of space. Stone spins around uncontrollably and quickly begins to panic. The remainder of the movie continues in a rapid speed with endless nerve-wracking moments.
What initially seemed to be a peaceful, ordinary trip into space quickly turns into a desperate journey for survival. As a result, the characters, as well as the audience, endure heavy concentrations of mixed fear and anxiety throughout most of the film.
When Stone almost reluctantly gives up, veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) comes to the rescue. After finally adjusting to the situation, they realize they are the lone survivors of the accident and they have lost all forms of communication with their station on Earth.
Within 90 minutes of running time, “Gravity” narrates a powerful story of a woman’s transformation as she struggles to survive in space. Having lost a daughter prior to the space mission, Stone is a complicated character with unsolved problems and resentments. Initially, Stone doesn’t seem to try too hard to survive until Kowalski, who never loses his sense of optimism throughout the crisis, accompanies her. Kowalski constantly talks and tries to ease Stone’s state of mind as they search for a nearby space station. Clooney’s charms successfully convey the enthusiasm of his character.
Even with Kowalski’s help, Stone begins to lose hope again as she realizes how her life without her daughter has created an empty hole. Stone’s self-reflection doesn’t last long though, as she is interrupted by more debris. The journey is far from being over.
Throughout this intense and petrifying experience, one will notice small changes taking place in Stone. Like Kowalski, she gradually becomes calmer and more optimistic, even when the situation seems to get progressively worse. Her increasingly subtle humor makes her character more likeable each moment. Stone’s transformation from a lifeless being into a lively character is remarkable. Bullock brings out one of her best performances as she presents this sublime transformation to the audience. As the title of the movie suggests, there is a gravitational power “Gravity” carries that allows the viewers to believe this incredible transformation of a woman, who is challenged both mentally and physically beyond what anyone could imagine, in this devastating disaster.
“Gravity” certainly is a well-made thriller and a warm-hearted, sincere story about survival. In addition to its moving story, the movie offers striking visuals. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón and cinematographed by Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity” creates a world in space that can easily be mistaken for the real thing. Another aspect that makes this movie more realistic is the back-and-forth transitions from a third person view to a first person view. Not only does this technique provide more realistic perspectives, it also intensifies the whole disastrous situation, fully engaging the viewers’ commiserating hearts.