[WARNING: Do not read anything that talks about Gravity the film or the end of Gravity if you do not want to know any spoilers!]
We’re reaching the end of 2013’s tenth month and I have to say, I’ve been quite disappointed with the films the year has had to offer. Apart from The Great Gatsby, I haven’t had the opportunity to rave about how good a movie has been. That was, until I saw Gravity.
Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, is a talented medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. With George Clooney‘s character Matt Kowalsky, who is commanding his last flight before he retires, for company the two are forced to fight for survival when their mission goes terribly wrong. After their space shuttle is hit by debris, the duo find themselves tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness.
On the surface you’re probably thinking “Snore, i’ve seen it all before” but I promise you, you definitely haven’t! In terms of cinematography and visuals, this film is revolutionary. I read that only one take was used within the first 17 minutes, which is absolutely astounding because the audience has no clue. Why is this? Partly because Clooney and Bullock do an exceptional job of developing their characters and partly because the images of Space we are presented with are magnificent.
Kowalsky is a natural flirt and Clooney manages to bring that humorous charm to even the most inappropriate of situations. In doing so the audience automatically warms to his character and even though he doesn’t have as much screen time as one would hope, you still remember his accomplishment long after the film has finished. However, it must be pointed out that Sandra Bullock is the absolute star of this film. Not only does she portray her character in such a way that connects with the audience throughout the entire performance, she allows you to follow her inner (and literal) journey that eventually leads her back to (what appears to be) Earth. There are many moments in the film that cause your heart to beat frantically whilst you grip the edge of your chair for dear life. You champion Stone to survive as you understand her inner turmoil. She’s got this far, making her way through the debris storms that have been thrown at her, yet she eventually loses all want to live. In a seemingly impossible situation, you will her to carry on.
For me, the most important aspect of the film was this feeling of loneliness. When Kowalsky is adamant that Stone must cut him off from the chord that is holding them together, she is desperate to keep him there by her side. Even when he descends into the blackness and out of her sight, she manages to climb aboard a neighbouring space station and tries to repeatedly communicate with him via their radios. Before he goes he leaves one gem of advice: learn to let go. This is a running theme throughout the rest of the film, as Stone must overcome her inner battles and grief in order to find the strength to find a will to live. When I interpreted this, I settled on the belief that one must truly feel real loneliness within themselves to understand who they are. When you have no distractions around you and are left with only your own voice for company, you can’t run away from those situations you’ve tried so hard to push into your subconscious. The only way you can truly move on from past resentments or pain is to embrace them, deal with them and in a way “be reborn”. This is exactly what Stone’s character has to do and the idea of rebirth is one which sees itself embedded in visual symbolism throughout the film.
There are so many reasons to watch this film. From Bullock and Clooney’s character development to the breathtaking pictures of Earth you are presented with, there is never a dull moment. For the second time this year, I wasn’t even aware that I was watching a movie. Bravo, Alfonso Cuaron!