Jack of All Parades wrote:"Gravity" by Alphonso Cuaron in 3d last night with my wife:
There is a poem by Robert Frost which could easily serve as an epigraph for this film.
Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.
The woods around it have it—it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.
And lonely as it is, that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less—
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.
They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars—on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.
A long 18 minute single camera shot begins this film and in doing so grabs you with its perceived beauty and its frightening emptiness. One does not need space aliens or massive action in order to scare one's self. The imagination is most sufficient. Space is death and we are reminded immediately as the film begins that space is inhospitable to human life as we know it. It is also quite seductive as the George Clooney character, Matt Kowalski, ruminates. It is equally seductive in its allure toward 'easeful' death as experienced by Sandra Bullock's character, Dr. Ryan Stone. That dichotomy is what propels this movie in a manner that I have never experienced before in a movie theater. I witnessed movie history last night. My wife and I walked out shaken, humbled and exhilarated.
Clooney and Bullock work well together. But the movie is Bullock's and Cuaron's and his cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki's. The CGI effects are something I have never seen before and the usage of 3d is what I imagine it was designed for- so life-like that I always thought I was part of the action occupying the same space as Ms Bullock. I completely lost the sense of a screen and constantly felt like this was happening to me. That made it completely terrifying. This movie is propelled by ghosts[like a number of other cultural items I am enjoying this season] and the biggest one of all is the terror of nothingness. As a viewer you are pushed and pulled by the visual and aural sensations around you, going from serene observation of our home planet beneath one and the terrible, fast and random actions that are relentlessly assaulting you as you orbit Earth.
Cuaron has set the movie making bar extremely high. I have also never felt more tiny and insignificant as a part of the Cosmos I inhabit for my brief time. I remain very scared and wish that the 'gravity' by which my physical world is held together could give me more comfort. This film has shown me how tenuous that physical law is for us.
Great review, Jack. A number of reviewers have spoken about this as a historic film. Sounds like a bona-fide must-see.