Sorry for the cheesy title, but I finally got around to watching the most talked about movie of the year: Gravity, IN 3D!!! And my god, it is the cinematic experience of the year.
If you told me a couple of years ago that Warner Bros. was making a $100 million drama about multiple Razzie award nominee Sandra Bullock floating in space for two hours, and that it would be one of the best (if not the best) movies of the year, I would have scoffed in your face. But, boy, did it ever work.
First of all, I have never watched a more intense, nerve-wrecking movie in my life. Throughout Gravity, an unending sense of dread pervaded every nerve in my body, which is more than I could say for most modern horror movies. Of course, unlike most horror movies, there was a whole range of intense emotions on display thanks to Sandra Bullock's terrific acting. There was a sense of beauty, wonder, fear, and grief at play, but these emotions never competed with each other. They worked together, blending into a very heartwarming human core of this otherwise terrifying movie.
Top notch acting is just one of many elements that make this movie work so well. For one, I was impressed by Alfonso Cuarón's absolute commitment to the narrative. The plot is actually very simple, and there are noted scientific inaccuracies, I've heard, but none of that matters. Those are vehicles to carry the director's vision. The singular focus not only helps the audience become engrossed in the lead character, but it also instills an overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness that makes this film work as a drama piece.
One of the tools Cuarón wields so expertly in Gravity is, of course, the 3D technology. With it, he means to plunge the audience into the narrative in the most visceral sense. The 3D effect in the movie is mostly subtle, but it makes you perceive actual tangible depth in the imagery, enough to make you feel queasy as you watch Sandra Bullock's character tumble through the space. It is a fully immersive experience, in no little thanks to cinemaphotographer Emmanuel Lubezki, whose expert work made each shot as breathtaking as if we were indeed alone out in space. It is the best application of 3D technology I've seen in any movie.
Also impressive was the sound effect, or the lack of it. Actually, that's not quite true. There were plenty of sound effects, but only inside the astronauts' helmets and wherever there was oxygen present. The soundless destruction was absolutely terrifying to behold. While I wished that such scenes were without the background score so that they would be completely silent, the composer did an excellent job putting the audience in full panic mode with extremely unsettling tonal shifts.
I am so happy that a studio was willing to green light and finance such a high concept film and that such a movie can become a box office success. Gravity was definitely an experience that I won't be forgetting any time soon. If you haven't watched it yet, do it NOW, in 3D! Watching it on a home screen will not do it any justice.
- Surely this is the most effective existential horror film ever made? It's so much more effective than ghosts or some other horror movie staple.
- Did anyone watch the 2D version? A couple of my friends watched the 2D version and they sounded underwhelmed by the movie. I feel like 3D added another dimension (wink wink) to the movie.
- And the emotional beats! That ham radio scene!!! And yes, I've watched the Aningaaq short directed by co-writer Jonás Cuarón, which is just as gut-wrenching as the main feature.
- Also, can you believe that Sandra Bullock's almost 50 years old??? I don't know what she does: cosmetics, surgeries, or bathing in virgin blood, but I don't care. She looks good.