Search Film Reviews

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


SANDRA BULLOCK as Ryan Stone in Warner Bros. Pictures' dramatic thriller “GRAVITY,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

2013, 91 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language

Review by Joshua Handler

Gravity is the work of a true visionary and epitomizes "jaw-dropping".  At certain points in this sci-fi spectacle I found my mouth agape due to the sheer beauty and intensity of what was unfolding onscreen before my eyes.  Alfonso Cuarón (Children of MenY Tu Mamá También) and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of LifeChildren of Men) have created a film so stunning and immersive that when I walked out, I couldn't name another film I had seen like it.

With Gravity, Cuarón introduces us to Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock in a career-best performance) and Matt Kowalski, a medical engineer and astronaut, respectively, who try to survive after debris from a satellite hits their shuttle and leaves them drifting in space with no contact with Earth.  

Through the use of frighteningly real visual effects (the best I've ever seen) and incredibly long takes (the opening one is between 13-15 minutes), Cuarón and crew place us in the middle of space with Stone and Kowalski, sometimes even giving us a point of view shot from inside their helmets to make the experience more real.  Gravity is pure cinema.  We go to the movies to vicariously experience something new and Gravity allows us that kind of experience, even while we are sitting comfortably in our movie seats with two feet on the ground.

Sandra Bullock gives a powerhouse performance as Stone.  Her achievement is even more impressive due to the length of the takes.  Contained in these long takes are scenes of high emotion and large emotional shifts.  These shifts seem effortless for Bullock, as she is able to show herself at her most confident at one moment and at her most vulnerable the next.  Clooney is good and adds comic relief, but this is Bullock's show.

Overall, Gravity gave me a filmgoing experience unlike any other.  It will put you through hell before finally letting go during its stellar metaphorical conclusion.  In terms of visceral thrills, spectacular action scenes and special effects, and acting, this film cannot be beat.  Gravity cements Alfonso Cuarón's reputation as one of the smartest and most innovative directors working today and should thrill audiences old and young.


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