Tuesday, 19 November 2013

19/11/2013 - gravity

"Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone."

For someone with anxiety and agoraphobia, 'Gravity' was maybe not the best choice of film to see. The last film I saw at the cinema was 'Monsters University' with my 5 year old cousin and my anxious fear of cinemas did not cross my mind once - I was too busy being blown away by the beautiful scenery in the film that would go over the heads of much of the young audience, but back to Gravity...

From the outset, Gravity is uncomfortable. Not in a way that will stop you from watching, but in a way that you can sense something very bad is going to happen (pretend you haven't seen the trailer and you know nothing about the film prior to stepping into the cinema). I'm sick of seeing films advertised to be in 3D yet have only one or two decent 3D moments. However with Gravity, I truly regret not choosing to view in 3D, as this is a film that was made for just that. 

We meet the team, Ryan Stone, on her first mission in space after 6 months training. Matt Kowalsky, a space veteran on his last, soon to retire and a third astronaut whose time in the film is short. They receive a warning from NASA that a Russian missile has destroyed a satellite, and they are soon to meet a meteor shower of satellite debris. Not to worry though, Kowalsky assures Stone, obviously trying to settle her nerves. However when they are met with the aforementioned shrapnel, there is a lot to worry about. Stone's tether is severed and she is flung off into the darkness, spinning and unable to stop. 

The CGI at this point is beautiful. The backdrop of Earth and its clouds silently moving across the sky, the sun rising over the atmosphere in the constant night-time of space. It's almost hard to believe that it is CGI. 

What I love about Gravity is that there's no backstory on the characters to begin with, no real introduction. You're just there, out in space, with them. Only later in the film do we get small glimpses of Stone's life on Earth, and little to none of Kowalsky's. The only focus is Stone's situation at hand - that she is in space, disconnected from Earth, with a small supply of oxygen that is quickly running out. And for a film with only one character (for the most part) there is constant dialogue, whether it's Stone talking to herself, trying to contact NASA or the brief hallucination.

It's rare for a film to be set in space while also in a modern setting and without an alien in sight. Though what's probably more chilling than facing other life in space is facing that you are, in fact, all alone. At one point Stone mutters to herself "I hate space" and after seeing Gravity, so do I.

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