Monday, 10 February 2014

Film review: GRAVITY

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón


Art should impress. If art doesn’t impress, it’s pretty much weak tea with no milk or sugar. And all snobbery aside (this particular reviewer is highly susceptible, but he’s giving it a miss this time), Gravity is simply breathtaking. So much so that you really do have to have some personal issues or inherent anti-hype agenda to keep going on a tedious, never-ending loop of “where’s the plot?” and “Sandra Bullock can’t act”.

Let’s get a few things out of the way. Sandra Bullock can’t act. Well, that may very well be the case (she was good in The Heat though, if that counts for anything), but she certainly doesn’t in any way spoil Gravity.  The acting is overall very minimalist, never hammy, and when she has to hold the screen – she does it well. The story is indeed very simple, but did anyone really need twisted embellishments in a survival story set in space?..

There are but two characters and a striking image of the Earth as a background. Trying to describe the impressive visuals, you will soon run out of superlatives. It really is overwhelming, the ultimate 3D experience that just begs for an overpriced iMax outing. The space is infinite, something goes wrong, and that’s all complication you need. The very basic nature of the story makes you follow it with truly dogged dedication. But of course: Cuarón being Cuarón, he throws in a fair amount of smart symbolism: the string connecting astronauts to the spaceship becomes umbilical cord, curled up Bullock looks like an embryo, and there’s of course the final sequence that manages to be both straightforward and absolutely irresistible. 

Final thought. In a world going for overkill it is refreshing to have a Hollywood film lasting just over half an hour. And not a second wasted.

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