Review: ‘Gravity’ is a cinematic masterpieceWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Life in space is impossible.”This reminder greets audiences at the beginning of Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi thriller “Gravity,” out now nationwide.
The space odyssey is 90 minutes of perfection, set 600 kilometers above the Earth, with an almost documentary realism.
Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and visual effects supervisor Tim Webber create a beautiful masterpiece that soars off the big screen. This is especially true in IMAX 3-D, where this reviewer screened the movie. With such an immersive experience, the audience is part of the action, which is terrifying at times.
Sandra Bullock stars as Ryan Stone, a NASA medical engineer on her first shuttle mission to help upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. She is accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, played by a smooth-talking George Clooney, who is 75 minutes short of an all-time spacewalk record. This is his last scheduled trip into space.
They make quite a pair, even with opposite personalities. Stone likes the silence in space, which she says she could get used to. Kowalski enjoys playing country music while jabbering away and telling tales of missions past.As Stone works on the Hubble, the pair learns from Mission Control that debris is heading their way from a satellite and they are to abort their mission. The story, by Cuarón and his son Jónas, takes off from there as the two astronauts are set adrift in space with a destroyed shuttle.
Let the terror begin. Anyone who has seen one of the trailers has gotten a glimpse of what heart-pounding, eye-opening action awaits audiences.
The detail of these action sequences is spectacular and visual touches throughout add to the film’s poetic nature, including a shot of Bullock’s character floating in the International Space Station or when orbs of tears float from her eyes.
Despite such big action, “Gravity” is also an intensely quiet film.
The sound throughout is stunning. Effects in space are muffled and muted. The characters’ voices, reactions and physical exhaustion are the driving force of this movie, especially with engineer Stone.
What Bullock does with her character is nothing short of phenomenal and Oscar-worthy.
One of the country songs played during the movie is “Angels are Hard to Find” by Hank Williams Jr. This seems appropriate given how difficult and unrelenting space can be. Where is an angel when the characters need one?
Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.
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Toledo Free Press Design Editor and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com. Watch him discuss movies on “WNWO Today” around 5:50 a.m. on Fridays. Also, listen to James discuss movies on “Eye on Your Weekend” on 1370 WSPD every Friday at 6 p.m.