Gravity by Alfonso Cuaron (2013)
I read some reviews of the movie that were bad, and the reasons that were given were things that fell away for me as I watched the movie. The accuracy of the technology or the science at play? Sure, verisimilitude is important, but one has to bear in mind that the movie does not seek to set itself up as an authority … no, instead, it sets out to tell a story. What is that story? It is of being human in an extreme situation, and how the pressures come to bear on an individual, and how they respond. Is it a compelling story? Yes, yes, and double yes. I have watched and enjoyed Sandra Bullock before, and, when she is given room to stretch her legs in a more serious role, she does not disappoint. Clooney is the perfect foil here – if any actor is capable of providing solid support in service of the story, and not turning it into a star vehicle whenever they are on the screen, then he is that guy. My interest never flagged once. I am glad I watched this movie – the cinematography, the un-showy and convincing acting, they all cohere into a solid whole. Did it break new ground? I don’t think so. But does every movie need to? Well, if you’re in the game for pushing the bleeding edge all the time, then sure; if you want to be entertained by a good and convincing story? No. The lesson I think other film-makers could learn from this movie is that effects are a tool in the service of the story, not a means and end in and of themselves. Michael Bay could learn that lesson – but then, he is a hamburger, and some people like hamburgers, so who would want that? Alfonso Cuaron offers a wonderful and promise filled alternative … I am glad that he exists, I am glad that this kind of film making exists. It is a great thing.