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GRAVITY (review)

Written by Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

Matt Kowalski: Beautiful, isn’t it?

This is it. This is the big one. GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuaron’s follow-up to 2006’s CHILDREN OF MEN, has been in the works for years now and is finally ready to be unleashed on a public that cannot help but be unsuspecting of it. I say this because there is no way you can properly prepare yourself for just how truly spectacular GRAVITY is. From the moment it begins, the film is astounding, a singularly unique experience that is unlikely to be matched by any other film you’ll see this year. And by the time that it ends, not only will your amazement literally be out of this world, but it will also take you a few minutes to start breathing normally again.

This wondrous film achieves its greatness by keeping things as simple as physically possible. Telling this story in outer space in a constant state of zero gravity is difficult enough; the audience doesn’t need an overly dense story to complicate things further. From a script written by Cuaron and his son, Jonas, GRAVITY is the story of two astronauts, lost in space and trying to get back to Earth. One of these astronauts is a veteran named Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), on the cusp of completing his final tour in space. The other is a medical engineer named Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), on her very first mission. When debris from a damaged satellite intersects with their vessel while they’re outside the ship working on it, they become detached from the structure and the race is on to find safety before they run out of oxygen or drift away into darkness entirely.


After lensing the last two Terrence Malick pictures (THE TREE OF LIFE, TO THE WONDER), Emmanuel Lubezki returns to working with Cuaron, whom he partnered with on CHILDREN OF MEN. His work here is simply revelatory. The way his camera whips and whizzes around the characters and structures is both dizzying and dazzling all at the same time. He is capable of capturing grandiose destruction and focused emotional character moments with the same intensity, which Cuaron then cuts together seamlessly to create an hour and half of non-stop tension that involves the viewer as if their life is somehow also at stake. GRAVITY really is a technical marvel on all levels. From the thrilling visual effects to the delicate sound design, every element of this film has to be perfect to make this completely fantastical situation believable for audiences who most likely have not been to outer space before.

While the visual aesthetic of GRAVITY is certainly a star unto itself, the film’s two actual stars are also a huge factor in the film’s success. Clooney, who replaced Robert Downey Jr. in the film, is perfectly cast and ridiculously comfortable in the part. You would think he’d been to space plenty in the past given how calm and collected he plays the character of Matt. That Clooney charm is what keeps the film from spinning out of control into the depths of total despair but it’s Bullock who carries the bulk of the weight on her impressive shoulders. As endearing and likable as Bullock is in her broader comedy roles, I’ve never thought of her as a truly capable actress, until now that is. She goes through so many emotions – feared panic, determined bravery, catharsis and elation – and she sells every single one of them. Bullock is the film’s anchor, embodying to some extent, gravity itself, and this is easily the role of her career.


Like LIFE OF PI before it, GRAVITY is more than just a movie; it is a thrilling, awe-inspiring event picture that needs to be experienced on the big screen to be fully appreciated. Films of this caliber are an increasing rarity in today’s landscape and Cuaron should be commended for sticking with this project, trying as it was for him at times. He’s done more than just make another movie; he’s given the world a great gift. Like a fair amount of other people out there, I’ve never been to space but thanks to Cuaron, I feel like I can now say I have a rough idea of what that might actually be like.


Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Gravity?



  1. 5 Sheldons?! Nice! Can’t wait to see it with ya, dewd.

    • It’s been a horrible year. The only other movie I’ve given 5 Sheep to is Jurassic Park 3D and I hardly think that counts. I hope I’m not overselling it but I don’t see how I could possibly. 😀

  2. I am so freaking excited for this now after this 5 star review. Great job, cant wait to see it!

  3. I would give, “Gravity”, about 1 or 2 sheep. Not because i didnt like. It was okay. I mean dont get me wrong special/visual effects were amazing! And they definitely will win the oscar for it. Also directing was very good too. But its just upsetting that, my favorite shot, the shot where Sandra first gets out of her suite and just floats there in front of the window (which if you ask me was just beautiful) was basically there to show Sandra in her underwear. And another writing, to me, wasnt the best. I feel like it was just a whole bunch of random events thrown into there to keep the story going. Also character development wasnt the best for me. Ryans caharter i dont know…I just…I dont know i didnt really care what happened to her. And the whole daughter thing i mean yeah it was sad but… it didnt make me “feel” anything. I mean common we didnt get a bunch of detail on the girl just little random things like she stresses over her shoes, and we never even saw her or heard her or anything
    Also i felt more for clooneys character (not a lot more but more), and we only saw him for what 30 minutes. Oh and the ending…the frigin predator, and tomb raider, ending…just …im not gonna get started on that ahaha!….so yeah 1 1/2 out of 5 stars. People are only thinking they “love” it because the visuals are so amazing amd stunnging and beautiful.)

    • I don’t “think” I loved “Gravity”; I know I did. I respect your opinion but to insinuate that people only think they like it because the visuals are so stunning suggests that we’re all a bunch of easily distorted idiots who fell for a bunch of pretty, flashing lights.

      I felt that the story was as deep as it needed to be. This was a film about a particular situation and the actors, both in my opinion, brought their best and I did in fact care for them, and their back stories, as simple as they were. There wasn’t time to overcomplicate anything with crazy history. It is this subtlety that I think helps elevate “Gravity” to its great heights.

      The ending for me was just one of rebirth. This was necessary for the character and well deserved considering what she went through. And as for the shot of Bullock in her underwear, well, firstly, she looks great. Secondly though, even that shot was about the need to be reborn. It was important for her to strip down and curl into a fetal position at that moment, not gratuitous.

      Thanks for reading and sharing all the same. Just be careful when you suggest that you know why people like something better than they do.

  4. Are you kidding me? This was absolutely the most horrible piece of celluloid trash, i’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing on the big screen. I want my money back, for tbe simple fact that a shark didn’t jump out and eat her. After all of the unbelievable crap she lives through. That no trained human could.i feel that the director owed it to me after having that horrible washed up sandra bullc**k in what was gauranteed to be the worst 2 hours of of my life. Which i might add, i will never get back. Thanks for nothing…

    • I’ve got to say I’m very surprised that a movie of this caliber could incite such a violently angry reaction from anyone but to each his or her own, I guess. I was in awe from start to finish and was particularly impressed with Bullock as well, given that I don’t usually think she emotes all that well. “Gravity” is about overcoming incredible odds despite what weighs you down. I’m not sure they were striving for hyper realism but I bought it. And I stand by my review. I’ve now seen it twice and feel it is an incredible triumph for all involved. PS. You only really lost 90 minutes of your life, if that’s any consolation.

    • You’re certainly entitled to your own opinion BUT for starters, Gravity is probably one of the more realistic movies I’ve seen of late in the action/sci-fi/comic book genre. If you really start to look at the physics of it, it’s staggering how much realism is put into everything. There are certainly a few “lucky” scenarios, but overall it’s a lot more realistic than many of its peers.

      Secondly, did you see it in IMAX 3D? You would literally have to be blind, deaf, or both to say the things you said above if you saw it in that format (or any other format for that matter). It’s a superb movie, dude. You’re just about the only one getting fired up over it being “bad”. Let everyone else enjoy the masterpiece.

  5. My problem with this movie is that almost everything in it is so predictable. After 5 minutes you know what will happen with Matt and how it will happen. And because this is (notwithstanding the fact that the director comes from Mexico) a Hollywood product, you know there will be some heartrending ingredient like Ryan`s dead child.
    By the way: How plausible is it, that someone who is traumatized by the death of her only child and who has no functioning social support system (Ryan herself tells Matt that nobody would mourn her death), would be selected by NASA to become an astronaut??

    And who is responsible for all the destruction and all the dead astronauts? Of course not the good guys from the USA, but the Russians.
    And Clooney is as cool as the space in which he is floating around and Ryan “Ripley” Stone turns from a panic-stricken space novice into an expert for all kinds of space-ships in less than 90 minutes.
    The scene in which she starts the chinese rescue-capsule by pushing buttons at random (because she cannot read chinese)is laughable. Pure nonsense.

    Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed this movie (the visuals/special effects are really impressive) and I certainly do not regret that I have spent 10 Euros for it. In my humble opinion “Gravity” is great entertainment, but definitely not a “great movie” in the classic sense.
    There is a reason why “Gravity” runs for just 85 minutes: Story and characters are lacking the necessary depth for more. If most people in the audience know after a few minutes what is going to happen(some were even able to predict what Matt and Ryan would say in the “separation scene”) something is wrong. Another thing that I found annoying is that everytime Cuaron wants to evoke feelings in the audience he uses the usual kind of emotional music. Compare “Gravity” with a real classic like Kubrick’s “2001” and you understand perhaps what I mean.
    “2001” is visually stunning too, but beneath the shiny surface there is so much more. But in “Gravity”…?

    Conclusion: “Gravity” is a visual impressive, entertaining space-adventure without any real surprises. Lots of eye-candy and action, but,alas, no food for thought.

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