Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gravity on DVD

When you don't get to watch a lot of movies, it can take awhile to get to the more serious ones. Of course, 2013's Gravity won quite a few Oscars, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron, so I knew it was a quality film (which is not quite the same as a good movie). Additionally, I'd heard good things about it from people I knew, so I thought it would be interesting, too. When given the chance, I confess that for awhile I chose more lighthearted things to watch over this one, but I decided it was finally time to see what the fuss was all about.

Deserved fuss, by the way. This is definitely an impressive film. Tight and short (91 min.) and highly focused with just enough of an emotional center to make you invest in Sandra Bullock's character (she got a Best Actress nomination), played opposite George Clooney (Fortunately with no nakedness involved this time! Anybody seen Solaris? Don't. We have a long-standing joke about this in our family.). The cinematography is just brilliant, but I was deep enough into the movie to not pay it too much attention. With every shot, the director makes you begin to feel the enormity and terror of being lost and alone in space. My husband is right that this movie would have been awesome to see in the theater or, better yet, in IMAX.

There are a lot of noteworthy aspects one could talk about in Gravity, but one of the things I really thought made it superb was its simplicity. It isn't a complicated film like Inception (which was great, in its own way). Instead, everything but the basics is stripped away. A mission in space goes awry, and the goal becomes straightforward: make it back home. I guess that was the goal in 1995's Apollo 13, too, but this is more pared down. There are no flashbacks or scenes of other people on Earth. It's all about right now and the reaction to what's happening and the fight (or not) to live. Even the theme is very simple. The tagline is: "Don't let go." And that's exactly what it's about. Physically, hang on for your life. Emotionally, decide what's worth hanging onto, even if, ironically, that means you do let go.

Despite the movie's simplicity, or perhaps because of it, this sci-fi thriller is intense. It's rated PG-13, which I find appropriate. There is an instance where the F-word is spoken, and it's a circumstance one can forgive. There's also a scene of a guy with a hole through his face. Mostly, it's rated for scenes of high-stakes danger, and that's what keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Wish I'd seen it in the theater, but even on my small computer screen, its gravity pulled me right in. Four out of five stars.

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