GRAVITY [2013] movie review – recommended

October 11, 2013 · Print This Article

I cannot recall trying to use all my sensing more while watching a movie than when I watched GRAVITY [2013] tonight.  This is ironic as I have seen few movies that provide so little sensory stimulation.  The lack of sensory overload from the tone of the movie made me use my own senses in such a heightened way that it pulled me deeply into space with Sandra Bullock.

This is the movie I had been most looking forward to this fall.  The trailer was amazing.  All it did was set the movie up, astronauts in space caught in a debris field with them losing contact with each other.  I expected the movie to be minimal, but it was even more minimal.  It was really a very raw, basic movie, albeit one with the most spectacular special effects I have seen since AVATAR.

Bullock is a rookie astronaut who trained just for a mission to add her research data to the Hubble Space telescope.  George Clooney is a veteran mission commander on his very last time in space.  There are other astronauts on the mission, but we never meet them.  One exploding satellite sets off a chain reaction of satellite destruction that sends a massive debris field every 90-minutes speeding toward Bullock & Clooney.  The opening is stunning, harrowing and totally frightening.  Yet through all of it is the calming reassurance Clooney’s character provides.  He makes Bullock (and us the viewers) think it is plausible to get out of such a disastrous situation.

After the high impact opening, the movie settles in to see if survival, beyond hope, is possible.  I had no expectations from this point.  I could not guess what would happen next.  Here the movie becomes minimalist poetry.  Objects floating in zero gravity so casually passing by while a panic to survive is going on.

What I found myself thinking about, which is something I often marveled at about space travel, was the scenarios the engineers had to anticipate and prepare for in designing and building spacecraft, and then training astronauts to deal with every possible issue.  The astronauts have to have utter trust in that engineering and training.  It is a marvel how it can pay off.

Some fool was talking loudly over the ending credits.  I heard him say, “yeah, it was a space movie,” like it was some sci-fi channel production.  GRAVITY is an incredible technical movie achievement and a strong declarative illustration of the power of the human spirit to survive and seek home.  GRAVITY is by far the best movie of 2013 I have seen so far.


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