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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gravity (2013) - Review

Silence.  Silence is not what you'd expect in a movie theater these days.  Whether it's someone that has never learned about their inside voice, a cell phone caller so important they must loudly answer a call and then announce that they are in the theater, a cute little baby crying during its first rated-R film or that pretentious bastard that finds necessary to post updates on FilmSnork.com before the movie is over - movie theaters are no longer anything but silent.  With that said, it is the silence that should get you to look past all that and put your butt back in a theater seat, because a theater seat is the absolute best place to watch this film.  I watched it in a packed house that was surprisingly dead silent, a silence only broken only by the gasps of the completely immersed audience.

Gravity is the film that will remind you why you love the movies and even more, why you love the movie theater.   In a day and age where even I watch more films in one month on my TV, my tablet and even my phone than I do in the theater all year - Gravity is a great reminder - go back.

The film is a simple, yet captivating story of a spacewalk mission that runs into some major hiccups when some debris disrupts the calmness of space.  Seconds before, all is well - a breathtakingly beautiful planet earth is a backdrop for the busy astronauts, Dr Stone (Sandra Bullock) focused on repairing a faulty computer board and Mike Kowalski (George Clooney) whose only concern is how many more minutes he needs to continue floating around on his jet pack to break the longest space walk record.  They float weightlessly in what resembles a space ballet.  Then suddenly everything changes, the almost dance-like move turn into crashing, spinning, gasping and then helpless floating into the vastness of space.

As someone that is not a big fan of water (yes, I do shower - snicker, snicker... grow up...,) this film reminded me why.  Sure, this is space and their is no water, but it shares the same feeling of helplessness of helpless isolation, one person against a seemingly endless, faceless nemesis.  Once things go wrong, there is no simple button to correct them - it is your turn to step it up or float (sink) away to nonexistence.  I found myself holding my breath for long periods of time - my simple fears were pinpointed and exploited.  The best part, there were no CGI monsters to remind me I was in a movie.  Yes, there was plenty of CGI, but done in a way that I honestly forgot it was even there.  Take not Hollywood, just because you can create creatures and effects never seen before, it DOES NOT mean you need to.  And when it comes to 3D, Gravity may

This is not a gimmick film, it is a story of courage, fear and people.  It is the last aspect that makes it work so well, people.  We can associate with them - they are not supporting actors for a massive special effects display - they are the main course of this meal.  It helps that the leads are the incredibly likable Bullock and Clooney.  I want to hate Clooney, I really do... I just can't.  He single-handedly represents the connection between old Hollywood charm and new Hollywood (if I am wrong, please, let me know.)  Both are at their best right here.  Bullock, maybe a career best. 

The director, Alfonso Cuaron created what is perhaps his best film.  He makes something that is completely unnatural to almost everyone on earth almost feel natural.  His use of 3D is unobtrusive, almost forgettable (in a good way) cinematography is often a stumbling block for directors.  Even when I found myself flinching as debris flew over my shoulder, it still never felt anything more than authentic.

Not only does the film flow, there are times you will forget that it is not one big, long shot.  It is, dare I say, a piece of art.  Sure there are films that handle many elements better, this film just happens to master what it has taken on.  Isn't that what is all about.  Not every film will be the Citizen Kane or China Town, but if you do what you do, well... you win.

There is a reason for big movie screens, this is one of them.  It is a near perfect mix of cinema, technology and acting.  I plead with you, by the power vested in me by the internet see this in the theater.  I get it, you have a big TV - NOT big enough.  But FilmSnork, I have the Bose surround sound.  I DO NOT CARE.  See this in the theater.  This is why you go to the movies.  Now, go!

9.5 out of 10

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