Efficient, gorgeous, and thrilling, Gravity delivers exactly what it promises: a suspense tale in space with dazzling visuals. A short running time of less than 90 minutes and a series of implausible narrative twists ratchets up the tension until it’s nearly unbearable, holding most audience members on the edge of their seats until the credits. It will wind you up and wring you out.
George Clooney and Sandra Bullock do solid work, although Clooney dabbles in some celebrity-speak and Bullock struggles to break free from the pesky rom-com image that haunts her like a determined, demented ghost.
Is it better than 2001: A Space Odyssey? Is it better than director Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También or Children of Men? No and no. But is a ripping, ripplingly good time and an immersive experience, brought to life by the genius of Emmanuel Lubezki, whose cinematography is beyond reproach. Yes, he should have won Academy Awards for Children of Men and The Tree of Life. But a win here would be well-deserved.
The reason for the film’s lack of resonance, compared to Cuarón’s previous Mexican road-trip extravaganza and dystopian adaptation, is the film’s fleeting impact. It grips you for every second that it lasts, and then it lets you go. You leave satisfied, but not challenged. You leave invigorated, but not moved. The story and the script are simplistic, almost window dressing meant to prop up the brilliance of the effects.
Gravity is a rousing crowd-pleaser from someone with serious filmmaking talent. Everyone should see it in IMAX 3D. Lubezki should probably win the Oscar. Just don’t go calling it the best movie of the year.