This is a simple movie to explain. The gist is that Sandra Bullock is a rookie astronaut who is installing a piece of hardware onto a satellite. She is joined by a veteran astronaut played by George Clooney. Everything seems fine until an accident causes debris to shoot through their workspace and causes havoc to their ship.
This movie is essentially a survival movie, focusing on these two astronauts and their will to survive in open space.
Sandra Bullock carries this movie. She is terrified (and rightly so) and it’s through her eyes that we watch this adventure unfold. George Clooney is great as well, but his part is much more similar to other Clooney roles we’ve seen.
The real success here is director Alfonso Cuaron. The movie is brilliantly made. It looks breathtaking and the effects are fantastic, looking exactly like you’d expect the real thing to look. His approach is also minimal, as most of the film revolves around the quiet intimate moments of these astronauts trying to cope with what’s happened and plan for what happens next. The key moments in the movie are silent, as sound doesn’t exist in space, and it’s terrifying to watch it play out that way. This could be a downside too, though, as these silent moments are ruined by noisy or rude people in your theater.
While this movie is a simple one to explain, it’s the complexities of Bullock’s story that carry it and I’d be surprised if she’s not up for some awards when the season rolls around.
What doesn’t work?
This isn’t an action movie, so people expecting an intense roller coaster ride are going to be disappointed. It’s a character-driven and emotional journey, full of quiet moments. But it works.
Gravity is incredible. I can’t stress intimate enough as a descriptor but that’s exactly what this is. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are amazing and their terror throughout these scenarios is portrayed to us excellently through director Alfonso Cuaron’s direction and stylistic choices. In this Fall season of uneventful films in theaters, Gravity stands out as an obvious choice if you’re looking to catch a movie.