Blazing a trail with box office, critical and award success Gravity was 2013’s essential cinematic viewing. It was a film that had more force than, well, gravity itself. Released on the home formats just in time for it to potentially be a Best Picture Oscar winning film the real question is does it lose anything outside of the big screen? After all this is a film that relies on the spectacle of seeing it on the largest canvas possible. The simple answer is; no, nothing is lost by seeing this genuinely jaw-dropping film on a smaller scale.
Yes, perhaps some of the immediate impact of the visuals are diminished but we’re talking about a tiny percentage. For Alfonso Cuarón’s film is still epic and grand in every sense of the word. From the opening images Gravity picks you up and imposes its beauty and magnitude upon you.
There is not a single shot or camera move that is not utterly compelling. The visuals are one thing but it’s the sheer revolutionary techniques that Cuarón and his director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki, ably aided by the visual effect magicians at Frame Store, have strived to produce that makes this one of cinemas most important film since the likes of Citizen Kane, Star Wars and Avatar. It may sound hyperbolic but such is the importance and photo-realism that Gravity creates that in years to come it will be marked as a certifiable game-changer.
And yet, in spite all of the staggering and breathtaking images Cuarón conjures it is just as much the themes and metaphors he and his writing partner and son Jonás Cuarón create that dazzle. The journey Dr. Ryan Stone, played with anxious terror and gusto by Sandra Bullock, takes is akin to Greek legend, an almost Icarus tale before witnessing a re-birth. It’s laced with ideas and themes that, like the deadly debris that acts as the catalyst for the film, keep coming round like a perfectly timed orchestral piece.
It’s often a simple story, a story about people’s refusal to give up on life. But it’s told in such a way as to ground it in an honest and hugely powerful manner. We’re with Stone every heart-pounding moment, every metal grinding minute and every space station obliterating impact. Throw in George Clooney’s wonderfully calm and cocky Matt Kowalski to the mix and Gravity is the sort of film that aims to reassert your belief in humanity while succeeding in re-igniting your unadulterated affection for film.
Dim the lights, buckle yourself to the sofa and remember to breath because Gravity will take you on a journey unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. It will spin you like a top and leaving you reeling with delight and belief in the power of what the imagination can create.