Almost ten years ago a very dear friend of mine recommended Y Tu Mamá También (2001), a hit Spanish film and the first big foreign film from Alfonso Cuarón, who had, earlier in his career, done films like The Little Princess (1995) and Great Expectations (1998). The film itself was about three friends and how their relationship grows on a road trip.
From Y Tu Mamá También, he went on to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), which is my favorite book, but least favorite film in the series. In 2006, Cuarón blew me away with Children of Men, a film that held nothing back. I loved everything, from the actors to the music, to this one, amazing long take near the end of the film that is just breathtaking.
Now, seven years later we get Gravity. Gravity tells the story of two astronauts who are doing routine maintenance on their spaceship when some unexpected debris hits, throwing them off their shuttle. The film is more focused on the two astronauts than anything else, one a seasoned veteran – played by the always-charming George Clooney – and the other, a fairly new astronaut, played by Sandra Bullock.
This is not a typical Sandra Bullock film. She doesn’t pull any punches, and delivers one of the best performances I’ve seen in years. I felt her terror; I even held my breath with her, and at times, felt just as hopeless as she did.
A lot of those feelings come from how Cuarón filmed Gravity. It’s dizzying and empty. You feel like you’re adrift in space with no way to get back. Every shot feels so large in scope that I just cannot understand how he was able to pull the film off. Though the film is now out on Blu-ray 3D, I was fortunate enough to see it in IMAX 3D, which is really the way it was meant to be seen as it pulls the viewer further into its terror.
The trailers leave a lot of unknowns for the viewer. As I sat down to watch Gravity, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell I was about to watch. I found out quickly: Gravity is about a journey, a struggle, and survival. What could have easily been a dull film is a high-tension thrill ride like I’ve never experienced before. Gravity has easily leapt into one of the top spots for my favorite films of last year, and I highly recommend it.