Review: Gravity

Gravity (Dir.: Alfonso Cuaron; Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney et al.)

Gravity is a tremendous experience. I can’t say if this comes closest to experiencing space without being there, because: first, I haven’t been there and second, this is the only space-themed 3D movie I have watched.

Having said that, Gravity sure is “one hell of a ride”. After a brief lull in a space station in the few minutes initally, all havoc breaks loose and people in space suits are flying all over the place, er space, untethered and unanswered. It is as panicky as Alien, although in Gravity, it is just the vagaries of space itself  which prove sufficiently hazardous, rather than another class of organisms to add to the terror. Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, created four decades back, was a masterpiece for both the realistic depictions and the taut treatment. Gravity scores high on both these counts. The situation is fraught with danger and with at least one of the two primary protagonists lacking the steel for an unexceptional situation of a dreary death mid-space, the tension in the vacuum on the screen is palpable in the theatre air.

The visuals are fascinating, with enough time to savour the unparalleled “view”, as a protagonist calls it

The visuals are fascinating, with enough time to savour the unparalleled “view”, as a protagonist calls it. And this is a beautiful achievement of the film – slowing the pace down amidst the frenzy for the viewer to lose himself/ herself, albeit briefly, in the vast arena and literally out-of-the-world scenes.

Despite all its splendour, it would be interesting to see if Gravity can make it to the “great” bracket from the “good” which it certainly deserves. I have my doubts because, in spite of the brilliant effects and credible performances by the two leading actors, Gravity misses the extra bit that is required to make the transition. In terms of outer space dramas, 2001 is the all-time great which is a benchmark for its genre. Gravity, 45 years since that film, does not really take that experience to the next level. 2001 created an eerie atmosphere, a strange uneasiness. Gravity does not match that. In terms of creating an atmosphere of terror, it is closer to the Alien and Prometheus category but then again, fails to match the tremendous panic and suspense of those. In terms of a human drama and its “jailbreak” theme, The Shawshank Redemption is again the seminal work, and the famous climax of that masterpiece almost gets a tribute in a similar climax here. But somehow, though this “escape” was certainly way bigger in scale, the drama of Shawshank was goosebumps-inducing. In Gravity, it merely lifts the film from a sci-fi thriller to a drama.

In all, Gravity is definitely a treat to watch and an enjoyable movie. Though not astoundingly moving or possessing the power to shake the viewer, it deserves to be watched for its spectacular visuals alone.

Gravity IMDb Link

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