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 Gravity - film review

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Sue77
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PostSubject: Gravity - film review   Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:14 pm

Gravity is receiving rave reviews. Well, before I read what others thought and interpreted from Alfonso Cuaron’s film, I visited my local cinema to see Gravity and find that my perspective is a little different. Yes, this is a film I’d recommend to others, yes the special effects are pretty darned good, but there were things that didn’t work for me – that didn’t quite add up and I find my opinion in one particular area differs quite dramatically.

An aspect of the film I felt worked well was the sparse script. We learn very little about the astronauts but the economy of the information works to engage the audience in the very real human need for contact. Sandra Bullock’s introverted, grieving mother, Ryan Stone is sharply contrasted with George Clooney’s gregarious, veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski. When the incident that severs them from the Hubble telescope occurs, Cuaron switches from long and medium range shots into extreme close up, taking us inside of Stone’s suit, encompassing the viewers in an agony of panic. It is here, in the filming and editing of Gravity that Cuaron truly excels.

Gravity’s simple narrative serves to offset perfectly the complexity of the special effects and the manner in which the film is shot. At times there is no focal point for the audience to align themselves with. Due to this the spectator’s field of vision is dislocated; it’s not fixed into the scene before us, instead we freefall with the astronauts, but without their umbilical tethers – a very neat touch. Also, there are times where the audience’s field of vision is in first person with Stone. This again gives a sense of movement that resonates with every action the character carries out.

The narrative thrust of this film concerns Stone’s journey from the numbness and isolation of grief to the awakening of a desire to live. Rather than being a thriller about a life threatening incident in space, Gravity engages us in an emotive rites of passage. Bullock does an excellent job of portraying this yet, to me, her performance held some anomalies that I found hard to accept. For instance, the narrative sets out that Stone is the first timer, Kowalski the experienced astronaut, but I found the level of panic and yelling didn’t gel with the level of calm expertise demonstrated, by Stone, in the internal scenes. However, Clooney’s performance contained no inconsistencies. Consequently I found his portrayal of Kowalski to be the most convincing and memorable. As a foil for Bullock’s portrayal of internalised despair, Clooney was understated and quite brilliant. In my opinion, he should be receiving the same level of acclaim.

To sum up, the simplicity of Gravity’s narrative is juxtaposed with a complexity of spectacle. Performances from both Bullock and Clooney are noteworthy. But, it is the manner in which the film is shot and edited that is truly remarkable. Do I think this is a masterpiece? Not quite. However Gravity is innovative, taut and best seen in the cinema on the biggest screen you can find.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity - film review   Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:38 pm

Thanks for the review. I haven't seen this movie yet but Cuaron is a clever director who is not afraid of playing around conventions.

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