Ooh Gravity, woohoo, the movie everyone is talking about. Sandra Bullock for an Oscar? Greatest space film ever made? The best film of the year…….? In my opinion, no. Here are my reasons, and I will try desperately not to put in any spoilers, but be on the lookout just in case.
First of all there are a number of superlatives and things that can be said about the visuals of this film. They are quite simply, stunning. It took Cuaron 4 years to make this film and you can see straight away that his time has been put to good use. The look of the earth is impeccably detailed and the eeriness of space is apparent from the outset through the phenomenal effects and the epic soundscape.
You really are thrown into the action straight away, no build up or anything like that, bang, you’re in space and like Bullock’s character, you are trying to find your feet. A great touch. Not only are you trying to take in the spectacle that is on screen but you are also trying to adapt to the 3D which is utterly brilliant. A lot of times 3D seems to be a licence to charge more money whilst making the title of the film in 3D and nothing else (don’t get me started on retrofitting 3D, what the Dickens is that all about?!) It also is not like an Avatar style 3D which has everything huge and mind boggling, flying at you from all angles. In this case it is very subtle and adds to the drama, which also starts straight from the off.
Sandra Bullock is great, no other way around it really. For a lot of the film it is just her and her not saying very much (kind of like Tom Hanks in Castaway – what a great film that is) and Bullock really has the presence to pull this off. She has a lovely vulnerability and keeps you on the edge of your seat with what she is going through. Clooney is also very good, in truth he isn’t in the film very much but when he is, it is a lovely understated performance. They have a strong chemistry together and if you are ever lost in space then Clooney’s character Kowalski is the kind of guy you want around. In fact it would be pretty cool to have Clooney around a lot of the time, he’s petty cool. Don’t look for other great performances though, there are literally 4 people in this whole film, and you barely see two of them.
The down sides to this film. The dialogue. It is very heavy handed. It isn’t giving anything away to say that Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone, gets lost in space. So the tension and the stakes are very high, the highest they can be. But for some reason we are given a back story which really tries to shovel on the dramatic tension which is totally unnecessary. We don’t need the sad story that she tells us, we are already at breaking point with the whole lost in space thing, leave it there! The subtlety, which they work so hard to create throughout the whole film is suddenly lost, and that is a real shame. The characters are surprisingly underwritten, there are only two main ones and you would think that this would lead to a hugely detailed characters, you’d be wrong. Also the plot, there isn’t much of one. That can be a real positive in films but here it is like they are so keen to show off their skills with the visuals that the rest of the film wasn’t as important. Maybe that’s harsh but I think it could have been an amazing film, and it wasn’t quite/
Don’t get me wrong this film is very good, but I did come out of the cinema a little underwhelmed, call me a cynic, but there you go. The visuals are a long way the best I have seen this year and if this doesn’t pick up an Oscar then I will be gob smacked. Cate Blanchett is so strong in Blue Jasmine that saying Bullock is a shoe in for an award is risky, Blanchett for me gives a more rounded performance. Bullock is limited by the script here, bless her.
As in previous blogs I want to give a nod to the music in the film, very subtle and adds beautifully to the whole film. It picks you up and carries you along without you even knowing it, as any good score should.
This film is great, but I was slightly underwhelmed. But let me know what you think.
I give it a 7 out of 10.