movie film review | chris tookey


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  Gravity Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
9.05 /10
Sandra Bullock , George Clooney , Ed Harris

Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron
Written by: Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron

Released: 2013
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 91

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There’s something irritating about the manner in which the film treats Bullock’s character, someone qualified by NASA to go into space but written to be a specialist whose skill set is perfectly unsuited to the task of survival in space. It allows her character to be smart, yet utterly beholden to a man’s instructions, one of many reminders that for all the complicated CG wizardry and ostensibly visionary gloss of Gravity, it is aesthetically and structurally regressive, a film different from its thematic predecessors only in how good the effects technology is.
(Jake Cole, Movie Mezzanine)
Despite the infinite background, the film's structure provides for very limited storytelling... The gut-wrenching, immersive elements in Gravity are almost above reproach, but ultimately, the experience of watching Ryan grab for objects in space is more compelling than her grasping for significance in her life. It's all effect and little affect.
(Nick McCarthy, Slant Magazine)
A disappointment level of astronomical proportions... For all the celestial splendor on display, the film's lasting image has nothing to do with the cosmos — for someone who just turned 49, Sandra Bullock has some spectacular legs.
(Erick Weber, NECN)
Gravity lost me about 15 minutes in. The opening minutes — which displays three astronauts at work during a beautiful but precarious “spacewalk” — were awe-inspiring. My mind reeled with the possibilities that were opening up. But then came the initial crisis, and I quickly began to worry that this film’s vast realm of possibility was going to narrow into a predictable marathon of disasters, a methodical chain reaction of explosions and malfunctions and crises, while human beings race against countdowns to fix things and improvise their survival. Having experienced so many sequences like this, I began settling in merely to endure it. My suspension of disbelief got caught by the gravity of unimaginative storytelling, and crashed hard on its brutal surface... It’s hard to recall a movie that’s as viscerally thrilling and as deadly boring as Gravity, a colossal and impressive exertion of brain power aimed at overriding — at obviating — the use of brain power.
(Richard Brody, New Yorker)
And so it is that Gravity motors on, stopping on occasion to unload an embarrassing bit of half-baked backstory or to ponder mortality with the air of a college-aged stoner. Cuaron, to his credit, seems dimly aware that his dialogue is laughable (the film opens with a “Macarena” joke!), and so he soon conspires to jam inter-astronaut communications to better focus on the much-discussed contemplative silence of space. But even here he fails himself: Steven Price’s bleating, obnoxious score drowns out the natural sounds of nothing at all. It’s just more of the same old spectacle, precision-calibrated for audience appeal. Perhaps it isn’t surprising that Gravity facilitates such praise. It’s been constructed as a vehicle for enthusiasm, tailor-made for gobsmacked and unthinking awe before its glitzy high-tech wonders.
(Calum Marsh, L Magazine)
As a technical achievement, I give the film full props... But I grow weary of intensity for intensity’s sake. I would much prefer that special effects help create and sustain the illusion of a story that draws me in. … There were plenty of places in Gravity where I said, “I wonder how they shot that?” or “I wonder how strenuous a shoot it was for Sandra Bullock.” At no point, even in an early point-of-view shot did I say something like, “Poor Dr. Stone, that must be unimaginably terrifying.” For such a tense, dread-filled film, most of the emotional responses were engineered through music, jump-cuts, money shots; very few were arrived at organically. It was a drama with a thriller’s sensibilities.
(Ken Morefield,1 More Film Blog)
There are moments in the film that are gripping, but once you get past the basic idea that they are stranded in space and they have 90 minutes to reach a Chinese Satellite before they run out of air, the movie becomes a bit pedestrian... I’m not saying I didn’t like the narrative thrust of this film but there’s not enough meat here to make me think it’d be something I’d be excited to watch again. Writers Alfonso Cuaron, and Jonas Cuaron provided a very nice, easy to digest story that doesn’t have any hidden layers to it. In some ways I wish they included flashbacks so that we could discover more about Ryan and Matt, on the other hand I’m glad they didn’t. It helped maintain the momentum of the story. The film is very situational and not character driven. This is not “epic” or “revolutionary” film-making, it is just merely good.
(Michelle Alexandria, Eclipse Magazine)
As an excuse for Emmanuel Lubezki to rotate his camera through a bunch of cool-looking 3-D space hardware, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (Grade: B-) does its job spectacularly. In narrative terms, though, it’s somewhat lacking, essentially counting on viewers to be so lulled by gorgeous refractions of light and insane long takes a la Children Of Men that they won’t care about dramatic anemia or missed opportunities for tension.
(Ben Kenigsberg, The Onion)
Much less than meets the eye.
(Louis Proyect,
I don’t even know what I disliked most about this movie: the overdone, over sentimentality of the plot, or the fact that every line that came out of George Clooney’s mouth — or any mouth for that matter — made me want to jump out of my seat and throw popcorn at the 3D version of their faces. The plot is unoriginal at best, sensational and desperate at worst. The movie is about Ryan (Bullock) and Matt (Clooney), two astronauts who get stranded in space after the debris from a destroyed satellite ruined their space shuttles and threatened to kill them. Matt has to sacrifice himself so that Ryan will live, and of course, she does. Anything unpredictable about that story line? Because if so, I totally missed it... The plot and dialogue are so painful, so cheesy, so unrealistic, it makes me queasy.
(Katherine, Marrone, Emerald News)
Stone’s back-story, however, is a dimension too far. We learn that she has suffered a personal tragedy back on Earth, and so outward survival is not enough, she must also seek inner peace. It is an unnecessary contrivance. Cuaron’s co-writer, his brother Jonas, has said that they wanted the main character to be female, because they wanted ‘a maternal presence against the backdrop of Mother Earth’. Or was it more because they wanted Bullock? Whatever, it’s rare enough to have a gripping space movie without aliens. It doesn’t need an invasion of psychological demons.
(Brian Viner, Daily Mail)

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