Monday, October 7, 2013

Movie Review: Gravity

Gravity
Rating: *****

This film is the best of the season -- and one of the first films I've seen in months that I gave a perfect rating. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (yes, only two actors), Bullock's Dr. Ryan Stone's character carries most of the film.

On one hand, the film is a typical struggle-to-survive tale, and on the other hand it's a spiritual metaphor about the will to live and take action in your life. The story opens with our astronauts out on a routine space walk and mission. Light banter ensues and a notation that Dr. Stone isn't feeling well up in weightless space. The story quickly moves to a life-or-death challenge as space debris from a destroyed satellite unexpectedly hurls at destructive speeds toward the shuttle and its passengers. The plot point is how are Clooney's character and Dr. Stone going to survive after their ship is destroyed? (And I'll leave it at that as to not spoil the fun.)

What is captivating is how the story is told from the character's points-of-view. At certain times, you are visually seeing the situation through their eyes, which intensifies a sense of desperation and helps raise the stakes so the audience can truly understand the challenge. The realism is what provides an impressive immersive experience (the film is 3D) for the audience. As each challenge becomes harder and harder, the sub-plot and metaphor comes to life. We begin to understand this isn't just about basic survival, but the desire to live or simply stated: put your feet back on the ground and get on with life. It reminded me somewhat of the spiritualism in the magnificent movie Life of Pi, which I should have reviewed, too. Having personally experienced some recent setbacks in my personal life, I felt inspired by the story. It's the perfect throw-back to the classic film Shawshank Redemption: "Get busy living or get busy dying."

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