Friday, December 6, 2013

GRAVITY

Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

"Don't Let Go"

The rookie and the veteran.  

That's how I describe Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski. It was supposed to be a routine mission where medical engineer Stone (Sandra Bullock) was going to attach a prototype device she spent months developing in her lab.  Unfortunately, disaster struck.  Space debris from a satellite obliterates the space shuttle Explorer aka their ride.   An ultimate nightmare situation ensues as the two 'astronauts' end up drifting aimlessly in the deep dark abyss of outer space.

But let's face it. The view from up there is absolutely fantastic. The picture perfect shot one tends to post on one's Facebook page as their cover photo.   It also helps that you are stuck in space with a charming and quite engaging astronaut named Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who keeps regaling you with stories of his space missions as well as his adventures in planet Earth. 

Kidding aside, I was quite drawn to the movie although at first I was pondering how a film with only two characters could sustain my interest.   The cinematography is breathtakingly vivid and top notch.  The details were quite authentic from the ISS, the uniforms of the astronauts (American, Russian and Chinese) to the language found on the buttons inside the space shuttles. I even noticed a table tennis (ping pong) racket floating about in the Chinese space shuttle.

But "Gravity" goes way beyond than just being an outer space movie, it extensively explores the human psyche and how it deals with any type of disaster. Then eventually evolves into a tale of survival, self awareness and the triumph of the human spirit.

Capt. Kowalski is the calming presence. A space veteran on his final mission, he is able to put Engineer Stone at ease even though the audience can clearly see for themselves the impending doom.  He is able to draw out the essence of her personality even though she is now and rightfully so in total panic mode. "Why is she named Ryan?"  "Is there a Mr Stone waiting for her?"   Simple questions which reveal a lot about her character.

Ultimately it is Sandra Bullock's film. Her Ryan Stone character more than makes up for all the dumb goofy characters she tends to saddle us with, mercilessly. And I am truly thankful for that and really praise her brilliant performance in this movie.

Finally, I know it would have been awesome to see "Gravity" on the big screen where everything is clearly magnified in all its splendid glory.  Unfortunately, I had to settle by viewing it on my laptop but it is certainly worth every nanosecond.

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