BY JENNA SIMPSON
Alfonso Cuarón’s new movie Gravity is possibly the most frightening movie I’ve seen in years, but not in a bad way (and by that I mean, it’s not really a horror movie). Gravity is set in space, where something (or rather, a series of somethings) goes very, very wrong, Gravity is extremely stressful — I don’t remember feeling so stressed out by a movie since The Ring (remember how the soundtrack of that had white noise layered overtop of everything? *shudder*). Cuarón managed to hit on the thing that, in the abstract, is the scariest thing I can think of: being lost in space, floating, detached and running out of oxygen, all alone and not knowing what to do. Absolutely terrifying, far beyond any slasher film I’ve ever seen.
The film really only has two actors, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. George Clooney is solid in Gravity, but he’s just George Clooney now, you know? Like Julia Roberts, or Tom Cruise. He’s played some great roles, but mostly I just think he plays himself, or at least, he plays his brand. Anyway, his brand works here.
But Sandra Bullock really impressed me, for the first time in a very very long time. Her performance is believable, intelligent and gutsy. She didn’t play it over the top, which would have been so easy to do given the circumstances of the plot. I was really glad that the role was played by and written specifically for a woman (unlike, say, Jodie Foster’s character in Elysium earlier this year, which was written as a man and was adapted for her, a practice referred to as “gender flipping”). But as Sandra herself said in a recent interview, this role is revolutionary for women — that the character was written as a woman when so very often a story like this would focus on a male character, well that’s pretty awesome. Kudos to Cuarón for writing such a great character, and many thanks for making her female.
That is the interesting thing about this movie: it manages to not just be a special effects spectacle (which it is, believe me!) but also a character study. The development Bullock’s character goes through in the course of the film is great to watch. Almost as awesome as the other character in the film, space itself.
Space is treated like a character in Gravity. If Bullock is the protagonist, space is a kind of antagonist. Not that space is or can be malevolent, but those are some pretty harsh conditions, man. Things happen out there just because it’s space, and it complicates everything all the time. The way space is shot is dynamic and absolutely gorgeous, and hats off again to Cuarón for his direction — the film is really beautiful to behold, and if it hadn’t been so stressful I think I would have found it very peaceful. I highly recommend viewing Gravity in 3D IMAX (if you’re not prone to dizziness and nausea when viewing 3D IMAX movies, that is).
I really just can’t stop talking about this movie! I have zero complaints about this film. Just go see it, everybody! It is one helluva ride!