Gravity was one of the front-runners at the Oscars for 2013’s films, and took home a number of awards, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. It also had a very successful run at the box office, with a number of people declaring that it was a film that absolutely had to be seen in the theatres for best effect.
Well, I didn’t. I was too busy at the end of last year, and eventually wound up catching it via an Amazon rental on my computer. But you know what? It doesn’t suffer from it. I can only imagine how immersive the theatrical experience must have been for those who saw it that way, but the fact of the matter is, a screen would have to be both pretty small and pretty distant for Gravity‘s visuals to not be impressive.
One of the awards the film won was for cinematography, and it earns it. There is nary a shot in Gravity that isn’t absolutely stunning to look at. You don’t need 3D glasses to get a tremendous sense of depth when the film is giving a wide view of outer space. Shots of Earth look absolutely gorgeous. The space station, shuttles, and debris all look as if they were the real thing. It’s easy to understand why some viewers thought the film had actually been shot in space. I don’t know if everything is completely realistic, but it’s all completely believable.
The same can be said of the story itself. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play a pair of astronauts — Bullock’s a scientist inexperienced in space, Clooney’s a veteran astronaut — who are faced with disaster when a chuck of space debris smashes into their station. Clooney is always an engaging actor to watch — even if he does largely “play himself” to an extent — but this is Bullock’s show. After a short while, her character is on her own, and Bullock has to carry the emotional weight of the film without help. She does a fantastic job. She never over-emotes, but there’s a great degree of tension in every single scene as she desperately tries to find a way to get herself back to Earth without any assistance.
It’s a terrific performance in a visually majestic film with a thrilling story. And that’s not going to be diminished on any screen.
Note: This is a “Rewind Review” of a film viewed during the blog’s hiatus. The film was watched on March 18, 2014. The review is based on my notes at the time and my thoughts reflecting back on the film without a second viewing.