TIFF 2013: Gravity Review


Well, now I definitely don’t want to be an astronaut. Hollywood depictions of this venerable career path are filled with disaster (Apollo 13, Gravity,The Right Stuff) and often, practically the entire deaths of everyone involved (Sunshine, Alien). I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a conspiracy designed to keep would-be dreamers from leaving the planet. Must be because Elysium already exists.

Following Hollywood’s absorption with depicting “space jockey” as the world’s most dangerous profession (after Ice Road Trucker, mind you), comes another film down the pipeline to remind us of just that.

Gravity is the most thrilling film is ages (okay, months). It represents a huge technical leap forward in special effects and single-handledly rescues 3-D from the brink of obscurity and rockets it back into relevance. This is one film you’ll want to be experiencing in theatres because unfortunately, home video just ain’t gonna cut it.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as astronauts Stone and Kowalsky, respectively. On what seems to be a fairly standard and innocuous mission (Clooney’s character spends the majority of the opening wisecracking and telling stories that Mission Control is loath to hear again) disaster strikes. High-speed space debris severs the astronauts from their ship and they’re left adrift, floating in the outer reaches of space. For the rest of the film, the characters try to figure out how not to die.

One of the most effective decisions in the film is to frame some of the action sequences from Bullock’s character’s point of view. Like a first-person shooter video game, you can only see Bullock’s hands in these moments as she desperately tries to grip parts of a space station to anchor herself. It’s crazy how tense these scenes are. Especially because they involve what seems like the most banal question in the world – will she be able to grip the hand rail in time? However, set against the backdrop of a survival scenario thousands of miles above Earth and it’s an edge-of-the-seat scenario. The effects of Gravity make it feel like you’ve just spent the afternoon in space. They’re that good.

Gravity is a special effects extravaganza and thrill ride. It makes the most effective use of 3-D, possibly of all-time, to simulate a realistic portrayal of what it would be like to float adrift in anti-gravity. It’s a huge technical leap over any film out there today (just watch how long some of the takes are, and how the camera seems to dance around the characters). It’s well-made, but more importantly, it’s a ton of fun to watch.

Grade: A


One Response to TIFF 2013: Gravity Review

  1. We’re really excited for this movie and can’t wait to attend a screening tomorrow evening! We’ll be posting our review and hope we give it a similar grade 🙂

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