Acclaimed Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón takes his brand of hyper-realist human drama to space – but is it style over substance or has he successfully managed to transport his humanist storytelling to the realm of satellites and cosmonauts?
From the opening sequence of the film, Gravity grabs your attention with all the power it can muster and doesn’t let go until the credits are rolling. Whether it’s the incredible shots of sunsets over the distant Earth or the constant barrage of action that hits you between the eyes like space debris, your eyes are fixed to the screen for every millisecond of the film’s running time.
With dizzyingly realistic camerawork, this could be the closest thing to visiting space without putting your life in the hands of Richard Branson. However, the film offers so much more than just some pretty shots of space, as it maintains a touching narrative of the astronaut’s personal struggles that is sure to enthral even the sternest sci-fi sceptics.
It is truly a tall task to make a film that takes place in a setting so far removed from our own lives, as space, relatable. However, this is one of the areas where Gravity succeeds and it does so spectacularly.
Perhaps it is Clooney’s dry witticism in his anecdotes about his adulterous wife and a trip to Mardi Gras in 1987 or maybe it is Sandra Bullock’s heart-wrenching backstory to how she ended up floating around the cosmos that provide a distinctly human element in such an other-worldly environment.
And it is this juxtaposition between the mundane everyday conversation shared by the astronauts and the extra-ordinary circumstances that they find themselves in that develops such a captivating viewing experience for the audience.
However, whilst this narrative might add a gripping touch of poignancy, it is often overshadowed by the seemingly never-ending stream of catastrophe. And this unrelenting adversity can be a bit much at times, as it becomes somewhat predictable after a while.
Despite this, if you are willing to give yourself over to the film wholeheartedly and go along with the more action-centric elements then it is well worth the watch. And with some of the most impressive space photography in film history, Gravity is truly a must-watch event both as a visual spectacle and a moving story about triumph of the human spirit
And if you’re a fan of Sandra Bullock flailing around in space, then you are well and truly in for a treat.