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Cinematography is first rate. Story is less so.
Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men)
Screenplay: Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Jonas Cuaron (Year of the Nail)
Cast: Sandra Bullock (Heat), George Clooney (The Descendants)
Runtime: 90 min.
by John DeSando
“You’re the genius up here. “I just drive the bus.” Matt (George Clooney)
Gravity, the film, is no dramatic heavy weight; as for its visuals, you guessed it, they’re out of this world. I’m in a clichéd mood because I suppose acclaimed director Alfonso Cuaron can’t always have creative, original works. He has to make a living like the rest of us, so he has directed a visually stunning film with a story even TV’s Star Trek might have passed on.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is untethered in space after her space station is hit by space debris. Astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) works to get her back. While Cuaron expertly creates the illusion of weightlessness and backgrounds luscious round earth, Ryan and Matt endure the daunting challenges we’ve come to expect from weightlessness and restricted dramatic action.
Because so little happens of dramatic excitement as opposed to technical interest (we do get some back story on her deceased daughter), this review will be shorter than usual. Bullock’s Ryan shows her to be an adequate rep for women’s power; Matt’s wisecracking is vintage Clooney: charming, caring, devil may care.
Over one hundred years ago, Georges Melies’ moon trip ignited the Hollywood passion for visual sci fi, even if it were goofy. Kubrick and Tarkovsky brought real humanity and sanity to their visuals and James Cameron complemented the sci fi revolution with mythic storytelling and naturally effective 3-D. Gravity gets the 3-D technical right; the rest is lacking.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com