Review Roundup: Alfonso Cuaron Defies the Bounds of Cinema in GRAVITY
Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side," "The Proposal") and George Clooney ("Up in the Air," "Syriana") star in "Gravity," a heart-pounding thriller that pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. The film was directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón ("Children of Men").
Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone-tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness.
The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth...and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left.
But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space. (c.) Warner Bros.
Let's see what the critics have to say:
Richard Reoper, Chicago Sun Times: "This is one of the most stunning visual treats of the year and one of the most unforgettable thrill rides in recent memory. You'll have to remind yourself to breathe during some of the more harrowing sequences. And even when circumstances seem to defy space logic and test our credulity to the cracking point, the life-and-death ballet with all its crazy twists and turns has just enough science behind it to persuade us. OK. I guess that could happen."
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "One of the things that makes "Gravity" stand out is that its visuals of interior space are as striking as what it shows us of outer space. One particular sequence, of Stone gliding with weightless ease through spaceship corridors, is remarkable for its seeming effortlessness. In fact, the amount of work necessary to achieve that effect - including the invention of a 12-wire pulley system attached to Bullock and controlled by some of the puppeteers who worked on the theatrical version of "War Horse" - almost defies description."
Dana Stevens, Slate: "Unlike Cuarón's extraordinary "Children of Men," it doesn't quite pull off its ambitious effort to combine formal inventiveness, heart-pounding action, and intimate human storytelling. But it succeeds thrillingly at the first two of those categories, and only misses the mark on the last because it tries a little too hard-which is certainly a welcome respite from the countless sci-fi thrillers that privilege the human story not at all."
A.O. Scott: The New York Times: "The usual genre baggage has been jettisoned: there are no predatory extraterrestrials, no pompous flights of allegory, no extravagant pseudo-epic gestures. Instead, there is a swift and buoyant story of the struggle for survival in terrible, rapidly changing circumstances. Cosmic questions about our place in the universe are not so much avoided as subordinated to more pressing practical concerns. How do you outrun a storm of debris? Launch a landing module without fuel? Decipher an instruction manual in Russian or Chinese?"
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: "... it shies away from proposing anything metaphysical, philosophically suggestive or meaning-laden. For some viewers, that will be a good thing, as it avoids pretension and self-seriousness; for others, its refusal to acknowledge the eternal mysteries, to be anything more than a thrillingly made, stripped-down suspense drama, will relegate it to good-but-not-great status. The very ending is quite cool and replete with quiet cinematic as well as evolutionary reverberations."
Justin Chang, Variety: "...the marvelous scope and detail of Andy Nicholson's production design; and the meticulous integration of visual effects, all-digital backgrounds, traditional lighting schemes and other live-action lensing techniques. But perhaps the boldest risk of all was the decision to combine these elements in a manner that would hold up under the prolonged scrutiny of the camera, in single-shot sequences of such breathtaking duration and coherence. Somewhere, one imagines, the spirits of Stanley Kubrick and Max Ophuls are looking down in admiration."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Just know that Cuarón, the gifted cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and visual-effects wizard Tim Webber are trailblazers whose imaginations accept no limits. The script, by Cuarón and his son Jonás, occasionally drifts into dangerous emo territory, but the film's images speak with heart-rending eloquence. Cuarón's artistry is evident in films as diverse as "Y Tu Mamá También," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (the third and best of the Potter series) and the indisputably brilliant "Children of Men." The Mexican-born Cuarón is a true visionary. "
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: "The movie is basically telling us that it won't cheat, that the way the characters are going to get out of this, if they do, will be something that we can believe. The ebb and flow of Gravity's story is deeply organic - it seems to be making itself up as it goes along, and that's how it hooks us."
Check out more info for "Gravity" here.