After months of being disappointed, yesterday I found my love for films again. The occasion was the screening of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. For some unknown reason it was playing only in IMAX screens but for this particular film, I would suggest nothing else.
I don’t know what it is about the space that is so incredibly scary. It could be the fear of unknown but to an extent I feel it is the feeling of loneliness that engulfs you, while you look at the giant ball of blue with billion units of life staring back, so far away. ‘Gravity’ pulls you in, into this sphere very much in the beginning and leaves you there, floating in the space along with Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and asks you to live.
The film’s stars are of course the director Alfonso Cuarón and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who have managed to create a vision of space that is enchanting despite the many times we have seen in before in film, television and photographs. It’s not 2001: A Space Odyssey but it might be the only film that comes near to it in this decade in terms of cinematic value and intrigue in this particular genre. The audience now, is not afraid of the vastness of space anymore with many films based in outer space having taken the mystique away. Gravity, brings back that mystique with the simplest of story line. The film’s emphasis lies strongly on the ‘will to survive’ despite extraordinary circumstances. And while I knew that Dr Ryan Stone is going to survive before I saw the film, this piece of information did not even for a moment impact my experience of watching her struggle to survive in an empty space.
The movie mostly rests on the shoulders of Bullock who gives a solo performance much like Tom Hanks (Cast Away) and 127 Hours (James Franco). But somehow it was so much more terrifying because of the obvious – limited oxygen and no signs of life. Clooney as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski is present only for a small duration of the film but provides the much needed comic relief in the very silent film. It’s amazing how charming he can be even inside an astronaut suit!
As I walked out of the theatre, Gravity had never seemed so enchanting to me before. Despite the obvious charm of floating weightlessly, earth grounds you, giving you something to hold on to, so that you don’t drift alone both physically and emotionally. I am actually quite short of words to explain what is it that makes the film so terrifying and beautiful and would urge you to find it out for yourself.