Monday, 25 November 2013

Movie Review: Gravity

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Most of us will never get the chance to look at earth from space. But the select few who have can’t stop talking about the experience. US Astronaut Charles Walker once said, “I held my breath, but something was missing – I felt strangely unfulfilled.

Here was a tremendous visual spectacle, but viewed in silence. There was no grand musical accompaniment; no triumphant, inspired sonata or symphony. Each one of us must write the music of this sphere for ourselves.” Walker’s insight on the beauty of the planet also serves as the perfect way to sum up the experience of watching Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity.

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There’s a reason director James Cameron said, “This is the best space film ever.” Gravity is the singular most definitive cinema experience of your life. You think you’ve seen 3D films? You think you’ve seen IMAX movies? You think you’ve seen great sci-fi? This film will reset all the benchmarks in your head.

The first thing that piques your curiosity is how Cuaron’s 90-minute space adventure manages to hold your interest with just one character. That’s Sandra Bullock. George Clooney is the supporting actor and his presence on screen is best described as brief. But those are semantics of a kind of a film you’you've never seen before.

This film will make you feel, in every sense of the word, what it feels like to be in space. You will feel threatened by the idea of floating away into nothingness, forever, had it not been for a single hook and rope tethering you to a space station. Because when a meteor storm of debris hits, Sandra Bullock goes spiraling into space. And that is the fear you've never felt before.

Despite the brevity of its concept, there’s so much more to what Gravity says. Cuaron manages to sneak in scene after scene of visual allegories that hint towards one thing alone – the beauty of human life. That we are able to live and experience is the most essential truth of all. But it’s not all heavy-duty stuff. Clooney plays the mild-mannered astro-junkie. He puts the audience as well as the protagonist (Bullock) at ease with his effortless bouts of comedy. Heck, there’s even a brief scene of an Indian astronaut humming and space dancing to Mera joota hai Japani from Shree 420.

The sci-fi logic of the film is fairly infallible. Bullock’s character, quirkily given a man’s name Ryan Stone, uses every last ounce of resolve to survive in space. Her fight to live on adds the dramatic impetus to the movie. The background score, the digital photography and the visual effects are all inch perfect. The climax, even with its far-fetched situations, has the right amount of artistic touch. Gravity is one of the best films ever made.


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