George Clooney and Sandra Bullock play Matt Kowalski and Dr. Ryan Stone, respectively. Kowalski is a veteran astronaut while Stone is on her very first mission. The banter between them is absolutely fantastic, never feeling forced or unnecessary. Clooney also provides a lot of great comedic relief when things go horribly wrong. Within minutes of the film’s opening, debris from a satellite crashes into their space shuttle and sends the mission into chaos. To say more than that would give away too much, but suffice it to say that though Clooney’s performance is fantastic, this is truly Sandra Bullock’s movie. After sitting through The Blind Side, a special brand of hatred for her performances was born inside me; her inclusion in this film was my only reservation about its merit. However, I am prepared to take back every negative thing I’ve said about her in the wake of this stunning performance. Gravity will be a huge contender at this year’s Academy Awards and I believe that Bullock’s performance has a great chance at earning her a second Oscar (and first she truly deserves).
Doctors say that to cure a disease, one must appreciate how complicated and advanced it is. Gravity's cinematography works in a similar way; it makes the most deadly force of the film look absolutely breathtaking. The film treats the vastness of space with the same reverence that a western treats Californian vistas. A single lingering shot opens the movie and lasts for twenty minutes, introducing the audience to the beautiful setting of the film, then almost immediately after, the film ups the ante and makes this seemingly tranquil setting horrifying. Emmanuel Lubezki, a five-time Academy Award-nominated cinematographer, deserves an Oscar this year even more than Sandra Bullock.
Enough movies have been made about space that if you ask the average moviegoer about space, they’ll have a pretty good idea about the science behind zero-gravity and pressurization and the like. Gravity immediately takes those expectations and destroys them (in the very first minutes of the movie) in the most unsettling way possible. Whereas space was once a place for spaceships to fire lasers and save princesses in the B-movies of yesteryear, Gravity portrays the universe the way it truly is: an uninhabitable vacuum that will either boil your blood or freeze you to death. What Gravity does so effectively is show that despite the scientific advancements we’ve made in the last century, we are still at the mercy of nature. It is a story of Man vs. Nature in the most extreme way possible and, ultimately, a tale of hope, loss, and human determination.
I wholeheartedly agree with James Cameron’s claim. Gravity is a beautiful gem of a film that is truly the greatest space movie ever made.