Tuesday, February 25, 2014

S456 ARCHIVES: A Breath of Fresh Air: Gravity - Film Review

~~ the following is a piece I did for the 2013-14 school year of "The Ram Pride," Ringgold High School's school newspaper ~~

A few astronauts, namely a space-rookie named Ryan Stone and a space-veteran named Matt Kowalski, are calmly working on a damaged satellite. Regular small-talk is exchanged. The situation escalates until soon enough an alarming amount of debris crashes into the satellite, sending the rookie spinning out of control, tethered to a detached hunk of metal. She begins to panic more and more as she becomes less and less in control of her fate. She drifts into space, fully detached. 

The premise of Gravity, a new movie starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and directed by Alfonso CaurĂ³n, is compelling, and thankfully the film's execution is equally so. This movie is a terrifyingly plausible display of the human psyche when put together with the scares of space. This isn't a movie about mind-boggling future technology, or anything mysterious that may or may not be waiting out there for us to discover. This is a movie about the horror of the known, present and realistic. And it's fantastic.

What's presented here is a very effective mixture of thriller and science-fiction. The dialogue and acting is natural and believable, making these characters come to life. It's when these actors play their characters as horrified in one scene, and then nervously comical and chipper in another, that Gravity most shows just how unsettling it is. The movie looks stunning from a technical standpoint, with both methodical floating and exciting carnage which engross in whichever way each portion of the film calls for. Sound is also smartly played around with to tug on heart-strings and shoot up heart-rates. Seeing the film in 3D is so mesmerizing that I can honestly say it's the best experience I've had of the gimmick. The movie is aesthetically masterful. 

Gravity has a clear, focused story that it wants to tell, and sticks to it. Every second is relevant, delivering a plot free of fluff. Typical Hollywood conventions are not stuffed in here for length and easy-viewing; this is a unique film. It's structured like a single, long sequence, it takes its time on even small things when it needs to, and doesn't feel the need to align itself with expectations. The movie is constantly unpredictable and surprising. It's a breath of fresh air

By the time the credits roll, Gravity triumphs as a faithfully succinct tale of isolation, determination, and horror. Occasionally it gets a bit hokey, revealing perhaps a tiny overabundance of pride and confidence from the director. But ultimately, this stems from the fundamental truth that what he put together is special. Gravity is sublime. 

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