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1Reviewer: William McAbee

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Stars: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock

Released: 8th November 2013 (UK)

There are lots of reasons I fell in love with movies. It has a lot to do with growing up watching Jurassic Park and being mesmerized by the spectacle of dinosaurs being brought back to life. It also has to do with an Introduction to Film class I took Freshman year of high school thinking it would be easy and then realizing that film was something bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. Still there you can’t beat that some movies became a cinematic experience, breaking the fourth wall of the screen and soaking me into a world I had never seen before and actually experiencing it. It has those moments where you forget you are watching a movie and become part of that reality. With this I think about movies like 2001 A Space Odyssey, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and many more. It becomes awe-inspiring that a film can break through and become something more than moving pictures that they can place us in the middle of these amazing places. Now we have a new kind of experience, one unlike anything I have ever experienced, with a little movie called Gravity. 

Gravity follows the space shuttle Explorer and it’s crew as it attempts to update a satellite for medical reasons. Specialist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a rookie astronaut in space for her first time but luckily she has Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a veteran astronaut who wants to break the record for most time in space, to help and assist on the mission. As the repairs and updates commence on the satellite the team gets a report of a Russian satellite being destroyed and the debris heading their way. The team must then rush back onto the shuttle before getting hit by the debris. Soon things turn for the worst and Stone and Kowalski must work together in order to have any chance of survival in the bare, scary, empty space that surrounds them.

Wow. Rarely have I left a movie feeling completely breathless but Gravity did this for me and more. I was shaking and as I am writing this still shaking from the experience. Now I have seen lots of space movies and a lot of good ones at that but Cuarón here has captured the true space experience through not only the visuals but transporting the audience into Stone’s shoes and making us feel what space is like. To put it in perspective, I have been on Epcot’s Mission Space ride multiple times and loved it but Gravity made me feel more like I was in a suit floating around above our Earth more than anything else I have experience. I forgot I was watching a movie multiple times and experienced everything from fear, to intensity, loneliness, and even bliss. I cannot wait until they can release a behind the scenes documentary because you can tell the technology behind this film is astounding and it makes sense why this film has taken so long to make. It was worth all that time and thanks to the dedication and passion from Cuarón we have a new masterpiece that will definitely go down in the books as revolutionary.

Very rarely do I use the word groundbreaking but this certainly fits the profile. I can only hope that filmmakers see this and decide to put the time and technology that this movie has used and utilize it in their own films because this is filmmaking at its finest. Of course the cherry on top of this beautiful and delicious feast is that Cuarón was sitting behind the camera on this piece. Thanks to his long takes, execution of camera movement, and phenomenal visual and special effect this movie stands out unlike anything we have seen. The opening shot itself is a 17 minute uncut one shot that is just breathtaking. The floating camera not only captures the experience of floating in space but is able to capture the sheer beauty of Earth, the sun, and stars that surround us. It is hard to believe that they weren’t actually in space shooting this because everything looks so raw and real.

The performances are solid and thats all they need to be. Clooney plays his typical role of smooth playboy with a witty mouth but does come through as a comforting, leading astronaut who comes in to calm down and save Stone and even the audience.Bullock shines here and it may be my favorite role of her career. While some may argue they lost her at the dog barking scene, I say she captured the true fear of the helplessness of space perfectly. I never once doubted her performance of her character and she brings in the emotions that need to carry throughout the film. That said the performances do not dominate the film and thats a very good things, this is a visual feast and the cast doesn’t try to get in the way of that.

Wow has anyone talked about the score on this film yet? It is incredible and perfect for the film! I was loving every second as it adds another aspect that soaks us into the film The score mixes flawlessly with the visuals to give it a thrilling and horrifying edge that it needed. It goes without saying that this film really shows how helpless it feels out in space and the sense of loneliness is terrifying throughout. There also some nice subtle touches of themes of religion, birth, loss,and the cycle of life throughout that add a nice touch making sure this movie doesn’t disconnect with its audience.

See this in 3D and IMAX it feels almost mandatory. You will do a disservice to yourself and this film to do other wise. I couldn’t even imagine trying to watch this on a normal TV. It is a breathtaking, ground breaking, soul shaking experience that anyone has seen before. It is Caurón in his prime and executing his visual expertise to the extreme. You have to see this movie you just have to. It is already the best movie of 2013 so far without a doubt and it deserves all the praise in the world. MUST SEE! See it!

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