wogma rating: Owner's Pride! (?)
Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity is quite likely the movie event of the year. Stunningly simple in its entirety as a film, but unbelievably complex in the way that simplicity has been achieved, Gravity might just change a lot about the way films are made in Hollywood.Read more
In Gravity, Mexican maestro Alfonso Cuarón has made black look more gorgeous than it has ever seemed on the big screen.
While there is no judging someone who doesn't like Gravity (indeed, there's no judging anyone at all for having their own personal opinion on any work of art) the thing is that, more than any other recent film, if you love this film, then you absolutely want everyone else to love it too. You want to share with them the truly immersive experience that Cuarón, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and the entire visual effects and production team behind Gravity have created for all of us.
So, as you settle in to your seats, and you read the opening text and get on with the film itself, I dare you to not blink until the first cut in the film. You won't be able to do this of course, because the first shot of the film lasts long. Really long.
But then, that's trademark Cuarón. Fact is that the best, most terrific aspects of Gravity are virtually invisible. They're what are behind the seemingly simple task of making a largely two-character film with almost minimal visible production design.
Gravity is path-breaking without appearing to be. It is the kind of epic that doesn't quite claim to be one; it just is. If Y Tu Mamá También was audacious and Children of Men was visionary, (and if you thought The Prisoner of Azkaban was the best-directed Harry Potter film,) then Gravity is downright epochal in writing, execution and performance.
At a crisp 90 minutes, Gravity is at once a taut sci-fi thriller as well as a gripping human drama. "Two astronauts get stranded in space after a freak accident," may sound like it has nothing to it. But, as you experience a suitably charming performance by George Clooney and an absolutely marvellous turn by Sandra Bullock, you realize that at the heart of the ground-breaking technique - that has helped Gravity become not just one of the best space-based films ever, but also arguably the best use of 3D in cinema, period - lies the most primal human instinct of attempting to survive against all odds.
Yet, it isn't just one aspect of Gravity that makes it the cinematic experience that it is. There's the sound design - space has no medium and hence sound can't travel in space - combined with the terse, visceral background score. Then there are some gorgeous frames that have been lit unlike anything you've seen before. There's the most realistic zero-gravity effect you've ever seen characters in. Then, there's also that brief moment early on that makes you smile; when a secondary character begins to sing a classic Hindi song.
Gravity is the kind of film that you must watch once, then - irrespective of whether you loved it or you didn't see the big deal in it - go devour every online resource about the making of the film, and then go back and watch again. That's when you'll truly appreciate the unassuming spectacle that it truly is.
If you're a fan of cinema, then watch Gravity right from the first frame till the last frame of the closing credits. If you're a fan of Hindi film music, then don't shy away from smiling wide when you see the names of Shailendra and Shankar-Jaikishen in the end credits.
With Gravity, you have to let yourself be sucked into a world you could scarcely have imagined. Even though the tagline of the film is, 'Don't let go,' do yourself a favour and do let go when you watch it; because, somewhere, even Sir Isaac Newton surely has.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
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