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Review: Gravity (TIFF 2013)

Gravity (TIFF 2013)
09.07.2013
9 10

PLOT: Two astronauts- medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and veteran flight commander Matt Kowalksky (George Clooney)- find themselves adrift in space after debris from a satellite causes a catastrophic incident.

REVIEW: Every once in a while, a genre film comes along that pushes the form to such an extent that it throws down the gauntlet to other filmmakers, daring them to be as audacious in their craft. Alfonso Cuaron's made two films like this. The first was CHILDREN OF MEN, and GRAVITY is the second.

Unfolding in something close to real time, GRAVITY is about as compact as thrillers can get. It's all about survival, and from the time the two astronauts find themselves marooned, it never abandons that premise. The entire movie takes place in space. Mission:control is off-screen (with Ed Harris providing the voice of ground-control, a great nod to APOLLO 13). It's all about Bullock and Clooney as they do anything they can to survive.

The two stars are an interesting study in contrasts. Clooney plays the veteran easy-going astronaut, who's never anything less than one hundred percent confident in his ability to control the situation. His mandate on the mission is to protect his crew, and he never veers from that objective, with self-preservation being nothing but an afterthought. His only goal is to make sure Bullock's character survives, and Clooney superbly conveys both the character's bravado and nobility.

However, GRAVITY is Bullock's film through and through. If Clooney's character's only interest is Bullock's survival, Cuaron makes damn sure ours is the same. Despite the incredibly tight ninety-minute running time, Cuaron (who co-wrote the script with his son Jonas) does all he can to make her personable. In his hands, Bullock's survival is not only a physical challenge, but an emotional one too, which she plays brilliantly. While Bullock's got an Oscar under her belt, she's never been challenged in the way she is here, and she rises to the occasion. A movie like this isn't worth anything if you don't invest in the characters emotionally, but here it's never a question. Seemingly every A-list actress was attached to the part before Bullock signed on, but watching her here, it's unfathomable to imagine anyone else. Her chemistry with Clooney is also pitch-perfect, and it's a wonder these two haven't acted together before, as they play off each other beautifully.

But back to Cuaron's craft. What is it that makes GRAVITY so impressive? For one thing, on a purely visual level, I can't really think of any sci-fi tentpole movies that could possibly hold a candle to it. The many unbroken takes (with the first one being twelve minutes long), coupled with the VFX, and innovative use of 3D makes you almost feel like you're stuck in space with Clooney and Bullock. This is especially true whenever Cuaron and dp Emmanuel Lubezki, switch to Bullock's perspective, making you feel like you're right there in the spacesuit with her. The tension is ramped up to almost unbearable heights (with a propulsive musical score by Steven Price complementing the action) The only downside is that GRAVITY is such a theatrical experience (although it was not presented in IMAX format- which it'll be released in) that it's impossible to imagine watching it at home, no matter how advanced your home theatre system is.

Admittedly, we all expected GRAVITY to be great. Cuaron's one of our true modern masters, and GRAVITY doesn't disappoint. While CHILDREN OF MEN didn't break the bank at the box office (although it should have) GRAVITY has the potential to be a megahit that'll play just as well with mainstream audiences as it did with the critics and- likely- the academy. This is one that's worth getting excited about.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:25PM on 09/10/2013
So wait someone below left a comment on mine for giving it thumbs down and saying I don't think I'll like it, and proceeded to call me a troll. But most of the positive ones are from people who haven't seen it either and are convinced it will be good. I'm all fine with the thumbs up thumbs down, but the name calling because of it. Wouldn't that make you the troll?
So wait someone below left a comment on mine for giving it thumbs down and saying I don't think I'll like it, and proceeded to call me a troll. But most of the positive ones are from people who haven't seen it either and are convinced it will be good. I'm all fine with the thumbs up thumbs down, but the name calling because of it. Wouldn't that make you the troll?
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5:20PM on 09/09/2013
Hope she wins the oscar again, because 1: At least this is a movie that is somewhat different from the usual suspects and 2. her speech wouldn't be snooze worthy.
Hope she wins the oscar again, because 1: At least this is a movie that is somewhat different from the usual suspects and 2. her speech wouldn't be snooze worthy.
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7:34AM on 09/09/2013
This is going to be this years Black Swan for me. The movie everyone can shut up about, but in all actuality it's garbage so bad that I wonder if something is wrong with me or the rest of society. Then in two years everyone will be all like, "which one was Gravity again?" No thanks, bring back summer blockbusters. At least the Tomb or Escape Plan or whatever the Hell they changed the name too comes out soon!
This is going to be this years Black Swan for me. The movie everyone can shut up about, but in all actuality it's garbage so bad that I wonder if something is wrong with me or the rest of society. Then in two years everyone will be all like, "which one was Gravity again?" No thanks, bring back summer blockbusters. At least the Tomb or Escape Plan or whatever the Hell they changed the name too comes out soon!
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7:52PM on 09/09/2013
So this guy hasn't even seen the movie but already know's he's not gonna like it. Go back to your troll farm.
So this guy hasn't even seen the movie but already know's he's not gonna like it. Go back to your troll farm.
2:53AM on 09/09/2013

Was already sold but...

Knowing Emmanuel Lubezki shot this I'm all in!
Knowing Emmanuel Lubezki shot this I'm all in!
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9:31PM on 09/08/2013
I knew this would be good.
I knew this would be good.
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8:57PM on 09/08/2013
The opening take is 12 minutes long? This is the first movie where I may enthusiastically have to have toothpicks to hold my eyelids open, lest I miss a single frame.
The opening take is 12 minutes long? This is the first movie where I may enthusiastically have to have toothpicks to hold my eyelids open, lest I miss a single frame.
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3:25PM on 09/08/2013

no

I couldn't even sit through the trailer.
I couldn't even sit through the trailer.
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3:22PM on 09/08/2013
Hate Bulloch with a passion and the trailer didn't interest me but now that I realize Cuaron made this I might give it a go. Children of Men was the shit! Why the hell isn't Clive Owen in more and better movies?
Hate Bulloch with a passion and the trailer didn't interest me but now that I realize Cuaron made this I might give it a go. Children of Men was the shit! Why the hell isn't Clive Owen in more and better movies?
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3:32PM on 09/08/2013
Yeah me too. Bullock is so bland and boring to watch. I worry about this movie. But I will go see it just because of Cuaron. Clive Owen and Eric Bana should be making more good movies.
Yeah me too. Bullock is so bland and boring to watch. I worry about this movie. But I will go see it just because of Cuaron. Clive Owen and Eric Bana should be making more good movies.
3:34PM on 09/08/2013
She looks like a possum.
She looks like a possum.
6:28PM on 09/08/2013
To say she looks like a possum, you must have one hell of a girlfriend/wife. I mean, really? A possum? And you better look like Pierce Brosnan to be that judgmental.
To say she looks like a possum, you must have one hell of a girlfriend/wife. I mean, really? A possum? And you better look like Pierce Brosnan to be that judgmental.
2:04PM on 09/08/2013
If Alfonso Cuaron directed a movie of some actor reading the phone book, I would still go see it. He is easily one of the best directors working today.
If Alfonso Cuaron directed a movie of some actor reading the phone book, I would still go see it. He is easily one of the best directors working today.
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8:10PM on 09/08/2013
Nah, only if the actor read the entire book in one take
Nah, only if the actor read the entire book in one take
+4
1:10PM on 09/08/2013
I am really excited for this. I've heard nothing but great things, and Cuaron really is such a master already. I now expect this to be one of my favorite films of the year.
I am really excited for this. I've heard nothing but great things, and Cuaron really is such a master already. I now expect this to be one of my favorite films of the year.
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-11
12:56PM on 09/08/2013

No 3D

I will not be seeing it in 3D. I hope it changes my mind about how bland Clooney and Bullock are.
I will not be seeing it in 3D. I hope it changes my mind about how bland Clooney and Bullock are.
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+8
5:20AM on 09/08/2013
SO excited for this :D
SO excited for this :D
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2:52AM on 09/08/2013
Glad to hear it lives up to the hype. I'm fully expecting to be completely blown away by this; guessing it won't be hyperbole when the line "the Space Odyssey of our generation" inevitably pops up on the DVD cover.
Glad to hear it lives up to the hype. I'm fully expecting to be completely blown away by this; guessing it won't be hyperbole when the line "the Space Odyssey of our generation" inevitably pops up on the DVD cover.
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1:19AM on 09/08/2013
Can't wait to see this opening day in IMAX. Going to be such an amazing experience for film goers!
Can't wait to see this opening day in IMAX. Going to be such an amazing experience for film goers!
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11:39PM on 09/07/2013
Children of Men is a superb film, glad to hear the same for this!
Children of Men is a superb film, glad to hear the same for this!
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