RATING: ★★★★ (4/4)
Gravity is the flat out best movie that has ever been made about space. Yes, sci-fi nerds need to get over themselves and realize that the time has come for the Star Wars and Alien franchises to be dethroned. Upon its release, this film instantaneously set new standards for cinematic excellence with its insane special effects, not to mention redefinition of the sci-fi genre. What might seem like a silly movie about an astronaut lost in space is actually a powerful thriller with enough adrenaline to fry your brain to a crisp.
Director Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) provides a refreshing sense of clarity and purpose to this visual masterpiece, avoiding the tendency of sci-fi films to be too broad in scope. George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven, Michael Clayton) and Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) are an effective duo as two astronauts who experience a horrific mishap while on a routine space mission. Even Ed Harris (The Rock, A History of Violence) adds a meaningful contribution to the film as the voice of NASA, a role he also played in the 1995 classic Apollo 13.
As an audience member, I was never able to fully acclimate myself to the cosmic environment, which was so vivid and surreal I would be appalled if Gravity did not sweep the visual effects categories at the Academy Awards. Gravity defies the conventional wisdom that movies set in outer space must take place within the confines of a spaceship, giving the film an exciting, unique feel. Furthermore, given that the movie is largely just Clooney and Bullock, the movie is able to shed light upon the lonely, serene nature of space.
Clooney delivers one of the best performances of his career, portraying a veteran astronaut on his last mission who is simply trying to savor the moment. He effectively provides the audience a reprieve with his calm demeanor, giving the movie necessary balance to its frantic scenes of panic and chaos. Clooney has surely put himself on the fast track for at least a Best Supporting Actor nomination, serving as the driving force behind the film’s most heart-wrenching scenes.
Rather than taking on traditional sci-fi themes such as the origin of man or the possibility of extraterrestrial life, Gravity distinguishes itself in a powerful way. The film reflects upon concepts including the beauty of nature and the innate human instinct of survival – themes quite unconventional for the genre. Most importantly, Gravity conveys the inspiring message that life is a wonderful gift worth fighting for until the very end.
I simply cannot recommend Gravity enough, as the film will blow you away and grasp your attention from the very beginning. Unfortunately, nostalgia for the pioneering movies of the sci-fi genre might prevent Gravity from going down as one of the all-time greats. Regardless, this film is a cavalier, forward-thinking piece of cinematic history that will not disappoint.
Check out the trailer here!