Gravity is one of the most intense, thrilling movies I have ever seen in my life, and definitely one of the best uses of IMAX 3D in contemporary cinema. It’s a movie with a simple concept executed in a brilliant way thanks to the magnificent acting of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and the incredible vision of director Alfonso Cuarón.
I, and probably many people who have seen this movie, can now safely say that I would never want to be an astronaut. As beautiful as the view is from space and as awesome as it must feel to be weightless, after seeing all the things that could possibly go wrong in space, it’s just not worth it! But that’s what makes this movie as thrilling as it is. From beginning to end, the characters are faced with unimaginable life-or-death obstacles and choices. One wrong move could mean floating off forever into space, never to be found again. That pressure is immensely felt throughout the film; I was hanging on the edge of my seat, mouth agape in anxiety and terror, the whole time! It’s incredible how such a simple concept (two characters struggle to survive in space after being hit with debris) can be executed so amazingly. This is mainly thanks to incredible special, visual and sound effects (take a look at the IMDB page and you’ll see a list of hundreds of people who worked in those departments; no wonder it looked and sounded so great!); it looked like Bullock and Clooney really were in space, and the explosions and speeding debris really looked and felt dangerous, and hearing the debris zoom by was absolutely terrifying. On that note, very cleverly (but also ominously), since you can’t really hear sound in space, there were moments in the film when objects were being blown apart and you could barely hear a sound. It was jarring, but incredibly effective. The music (and lack thereof) in this film certainly added to the tension as well.
A trademark of Cuarón films (Children of Men, Y Tu Mamá También) is their epic long shots (one continuous, breathtaking shot). Take a look at this:
The film has plenty of amazing shots like this to behold, including the opening shot, which is a fluid, ten minute long shot that hooks you immediately, both by the beauty of Earth from space and the wonder of seeing George Clooney effortlessly propelling himself through space with a futuristic jet pack. This, combined with the incredible 3D effects and the monumental IMAX screen, genuinely makes you feel like you are in space, floating alongside Clooney and Bullock. It was an awesome immersive experience that added to the intensity of the film; this is absolutely what IMAX 3D films should look like and why the medium exists, and if you have the opportunity to view it this way, make sure you do, you won’t regret the extra fees, I promise!
But of course, credit must also be given to Clooney and Bullock as well. Clooney plays a role he was meant to play: a charming, laid-back man who loves to tell stories and knows how to calm people down. He works well alongside Bullock, and the two share a great chemistry. Bullock gives one of the best performances of her career in my opinion. Her heavy breathing, her panicked screams, her frustration and persistence all feel genuine and real. SPOILER ALERT!!! You saw that warning right? Just wanted to make sure! Anyway, when she finally lands on earth, in one of the most intense ways imaginable, seeing her reaction to being back on solid ground, weighed down by gravity once again, is also incredibly breathtaking and so powerful and emotional. SPOILER OVER!! There is only one weird part in the movie that doesn’t seem to quite fit (or perhaps shows her losing her mind after her harrowing ordeal) that detracts from her performance and from the film in general, but otherwise her acting is solid and a great reason why the film is as compelling as it is.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: 10/10
This film is a modern-day masterpiece and the reason why IMAX 3D films exist, to immerse you in the experience. The effects (both visual and audio) are stunning and, along with the great acting (particularly by Bullock), make this one of the most thrilling, pulse-pounding, exciting yet terrifying movies I’ve ever seen. This is an absolute must-see film for the year, and if possible should definitely be seen in at least 3D, if not IMAX 3D.