By Joe Chadowski
gravity

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that I’d go to the ends of the earth to watch a movie from Alfonso Cuarón. It’s you, the viewer he’s trying to excite. Of course the producers want anyone’s money, but Cuarón just wants his baby to excite enthusiasts. His films are made to beguile. It seems progress demands that films be developed solely for profit margin and demand less from the viewer these days. His movies and movies like them put a middle finger up to the infuriating small-mindedness that seems to infest these days. And that’s pretty cool.

Gravity challenges convention with its brilliantly bold and refreshingly simple plot; a disaster during a space shuttle repair leaves two astronauts adrift in space. And they must fight to return to earth. End. Gravity is unchallenging to watch and is bound by the uncomplicated mission of putting the reliance on the viewer to make the difference. This movie is about the intimate, inextricable relationship between challenge and reward.

The script has been honed within an inch of its life and actually has a surprising amount of heart. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney rise to the occasion with aplomb. No small feat, considering the story’s brilliantly executed shifts from white-suspense to emotional density. Bullock in particular has an immense screen presence in this film and somehow manages to outshine the breathtaking cinematography. This is her best performance yet and she deserves gold statuette nom.

The camera work is vintage Cuarón. Gravity is blessed with his trademark excruciatingly long, cut-free scenes with pivoting, panorama motions. It’s disorienting, unnerving and it fits the atmosphere perfectly. I love that Gravity’s character is so transparent. It cannot be any other film than an Alfonso Cuarón film.

Gravity is discreetly and unbearably tense, with a runaway train sensation in the way it builds up suspense; nothing frantic, just a no-nonsense rush that just builds and builds. If you’re prone to addictions, Gravity will turn you into a suspense junkie. What’s amazing is the scale of the pyrotechnics, tension, emotions prowess and how beautifully they combine. Gravity is hugely impressive without any single element dominating the experience, everything rises in unison.

I’m not sure such brutal calculation of response has ever been coupled to such emotional intimacy. Gravity is simply a breathtaking experience. Here and now, in the immediate aftermath, this is one of the greatest films ever. And for that, I owe Alfonso Cuarón an eclipse inducing debt of gratitude.

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