Saturday, October 5, 2013


Plot: Astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are working on the space telescope when a disaster strikes. Suddenly their shuttle is wrecked, Stone is floating by herself in space, and they can't radio earth. Stone and Kowalski try to survive as circumstances continue to deteriorate. In time, Stone begins to reflect on her death, and the struggle to live.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: A suspenseful, nail-bitting movie where I always felt identified with Bullock's astronaut Stone and her panicked struggles. While Ryan slowly manages to save herself, every step forward comes with two steps backward. Gravity looks like a sci-fi, but it is really a disaster movie.

The suspense is continuous, but there are a lot of solitary scenes, and most of the dialog is Astronaut Stone with herself. Her performance is wonderful, and Clooney's is also strong. Bullock has enough range that we don't get tired of her.

Stone brings up the big issues of life as Job-like disasters keep unfolding: life vs suicide; her daughter; her inability to pray; whether anyone will mourn her death.

In the disasters, people die. In Gravity, people  seem happy before they go. Father and son writers Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron seem to be saying that happiness at the time of death makes dying better.

The movie is spectacular: a great use of 3D. The scenes of the spacecraft floating above the earth are beautiful. The scenes of Bullock floating through the space station seem effortless and realistic. Very nice. 

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron; cowritten with son Jonas

Rating: 3.5 stars: suspenseful, thoughtful, well-acted, enjoyable.

More: It is wrong to criticize science-fiction movies for realism -- so I won't. No Hollywood movie is realistic, even the so-called true stories, for example The Butler.  A better question is if they could have set-up this plot with more realistic premises.  

Even more: My DW thought it was the best movie of the year because she liked the weighty end-of-life themes.  This film is a little short of perfect for me. The philosophy doesn't seem that substantive and I value good dialog a little more.