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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gravity

I have a bunch of Channel 24 reviews for this week, but before I post them, I just want to say a quick few words about one of the year's most notable, often awe-inspiring releases, Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity.


Gravity, the latest film from the frankly brilliant Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and Y Tu Mama Tambien) must have the highest Metascore of any film released this year at a whopping 96/100 and, ya know what, it very almost deserves the dozens of 5 star reviews it has so far received.

As a technical piece of filmmaking it is, indeed, flawless as its special effects are entirely believable, its visuals glorious and its use of 3D right up there with Hugo and Life of Pi. It is also, a white-knuckle thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, if not hyperventilating, throughout  its sleek 90 minutes of catastrophic space adventure. And then, of course, there is the career-best performance by Sandra Bullock who very almost single-handedly carries the entire film - with only the support of George Clooney and a few disembodied voices for company. Clooney, incidentally, tries significantly less hard than Bullock in the acting department, relying instead on his charm and charisma to carry him through. This being George Clooney though, that is a seriously considerable amount of charm and charisma. And, yes, he TOTALLY looks like a real life Buzz Lightyear in the film!

Gravity is, as I hope I've made clear, a spectacular, visually arresting, nail biting thriller with a brilliant lead performance backed up by the humour and good grace of Hollywood's most charming and universally loved movie star. I just can't quite bring myself to give it a perfect score. Indeed, had the spectacle not been that spectacular I may have even docked it another star in my perfect, foolproof rating system.

The film gets so much absolutely and perfectly right that it's disappointing that the emotional arc that Bullock's character goes through is a bit too underdeveloped and the film's themes of loneliness and connection are painted with strokes that are just a bit too broad. Also, because much of the greatness of the film comes from its suspense rather than its story or its characters, it probably won't be something that demands or rewards repeat viewings.  

Still these are minor, if notable, flaws and Gravity is a must see movie that absolutely has to be seen in a good cinema in 3D (seriously, its use of 3D to portray the film's multi-layered environment is nothing short of spectacular) to get the effect of what Cuaron has accomplished here. Downloads or DVD/Blu-Ray purchases just ain't gonna cut it.

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