Let me start by offering a full disclosure. I love Sandra Bullock. I don’t like her, I love her. From the first time I saw her smile in Demolition Man I was hooked. Through her other movies such as While You Were Sleeping, Speed, Hope Floats and many others, my love of her acting continued. She’s even my 1 pick. My wife and I each got to pick one person who the other would grant an unconditional divorce if they would take us. I picked Sandra Bullock, she picked Heath Ledger. Ouch. Now that Sandra is divorced, there is still hope.
With that out of the way, let me say Gravity is a stunningly beautiful movie with the kind of action which will have you leaning forward in your seat. The movie stars Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Matt Kowalski. Stone is a medical engineer and Kowalski is the shuttle commander.
There are a couple of other voices you hear during the movie, one being Ed Harris as the voice of Houston Mission Control, but they are only in the movie briefly. This movie is all Bullock and Clooney.
The movie action starts when the Russians destroy one of their satellites with a missile, with the resulting debris field taking out other satellites, which then hurtles towards the space shuttle upon which our heroes are working. Needless to say, things don’t go well.
I am not going to spend a lot of time on the plot. Michael Morgenstern gives a great post on the problems with the script. No one should have any problems in knowing exactly what will happen in this movie. Very predictable.
Having said that, this movie is an incredible piece of movie making. The cinematography is beyond good. It feels as if you are there with Stone and Kowalski in space. The long action sequence at the beginning of the movie is mind blowing. I’ve never seen action as well done as director Alfanso Cuaron has managed to capture on film. I plan on seeing the movie again in IMAX just for the experience.
I also loved the acting Bullock and Clooney do with very cookie cutter parts. This may be Bullock’s best acting ever. Ever. And Clooney is made for the roll of Commander Kowalski. When his character is trying to calm Stone down, when the debris blow their shuttle to pieces, you can picture Clooney being that calm, cool and collected.
READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE, WELL, SPOILED
Here is why the movie only gets an 8 rating. The plot is incredibly predictable. The moment Houston Mission Control mentions Kowalski is on his last mission, you know he’s toast. Predictably toast. You also know Bullock will succeed in the end. You just know it.
There are also scientific flaws. Neil deGrasse, an astrophysicist and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, has a series of great tweets about all the science flaws, and they are many. These are the reasons this movie is not a 10.
But having said that, this movie is one of, if not THE, must see movie of the year. It’s fiction. The goal here is to take your breath away and make you struggle with Ryan Stone as she fights to stay alive in space. Houston? Mission accomplished.