By SARAH DEFFENBAUGH
The premise is simple; American astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are left stranded in space when a shower of debris destroys their craft and kills their crew. Shortly after that disaster, an empty thruster and extreme circumstances separate Bullock and Clooney. Though simple in theory, the film in its entirety is complex and beautiful.
“Gravity” is easily one of the most technologically outstanding movies ever made. The movie’s combination of digital and live action produces eye-popping visuals and a level of visual sophistication not seen in many other films. The special effects in this movie are so breathtaking that even if the plot and acting were below par, it is still worth the money.
The camera direction is as genius as the visual effects. Cuarón uses the camera to make the audience feel as if they are floating in space along with Bullock, and, at times, viewers see out of Bullock’s helmet and through her eyes. Even the audio effects in “Gravity” are amazing; everything Bullock hears is precisely what the audience hears. When Bullock is losing oxygen and her hearing, the audio in the movie blurs along with her consciousness. The visual and audio effects provide a gripping ride for the audience and hold them captive for the entirety of the film.
Even though the special effects are the crowning jewel of this movie, it would not be the masterpiece it is without Bullock, who manages to portray countless emotions and vulnerabilities through a single look.
While her character has very little background information, she briefly mentions that she had a four-year-old daughter who passed away. Even though there is not much more said about her life, Bullock manages to make the audience care intensely about her character’s survival.
The movie would simply not be the same if it had any other actor cast as the lead. Even with Bullock’s amazing performances in past films, this may be one of her best. She evokes so much emotion that it forces the audience to experience everything she does, whether it be panic, fear or hopefulness.
Bullock carries the majority of the movie by herself, and even though Clooney does not get nearly the amount of screen time Bullock does, he plays his part wonderfully. Clooney uses his roguish charm and charisma to endear himself to Bullock and the audience, while also providing a much needed soothing guidance. Even though his role is relatively minor in comparison to Bullock, he leaves an indelible mark.
In short, “Gravity” is captivating. Through a combination of brilliant technique and craftsmanship, it portrays the beauty and coldness of space and makes the audience yearn for the feel of solid ground beneath their feet.