Gravity is the talk of the town-every town as it obliterated the competition at the box office over the weekend (55 million dollars domestically-according to Box Office Mojo). Its commercial success is impressive, but what is more impressive is the immersive, mesmerizing, magical movie viewing experience that is Gravity. It defines the word unique.
Directed by virtuous visionary Alfonso Cuaron Gravity has a simple premise: an accident in space causes debris to hurtle toward the space shuttle colliding with it and stranding astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowlaski (George Clooney) hurtling, spiraling in space tethered to each other. A sci-fi thriller, Gravity is really an old-fashioned adventure yarn told in cinematic language. Film is a visual medium and I cannot recall a recent film that reinforces and celebrates this concept more. A masterpiece in visual storytelling, Gravity is a gallery of stunning and thrilling images. Cinematographer Emanuel Lubezki is clearly a genius. The sound design is fantastic and sound and silence are used perfectly here. The score by Steven Price is also sublime and accents the action flawlessly. Let’s face it everything works here; including Bullock who has never been so vulnerable, accessible and unfussy in her ability to evoke empathy and emotion. It is hard to believe she was the fifth or sixth choice for this role. The first choice was Angelina Jolie, who in hindsight seems totally wrong.
Loneliness, self doubt, despair, faith, perseverance and iron will are things we all have experienced at one time and all are shown and explored here. However, Gravity has layers beyond its powerful emotional impact. Its visual symbolism touches upon themes of embryonic existence, birth, rebirth, and baptism. These images and motifs intensify the cathartic experience.
“It was the most captivating movie theater experience ever all around for me,” said my friend Anji Reyner, who lives in Missoula, Montana. Anji texted me this after I told her I had seen it. (Anji also has great taste in wine and music.) You cannot get better word of mouth than that for this gripping, exciting and beautiful film.
Sunday, May 1, 2016, Watertown, NY