Science fiction cinema has a new and inventive tale to tell
By Bryan Kuriawa
Within the world of sci-fi, the fear of being trapped in space has often been the prominent theme of various writers and films over the years.
In films such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Silent Running,” the lead characters are faced with the prospect of remaining in space with only their wits and abilities to prevent disaster.
For director Alfonso Cuaron, this concept plays a central role in his latest feature, “Gravity.”
On her first space mission, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) views the expedition as one of simply repairing in-orbit technology. When a swarm of space debris destroys the orbiting space shuttle Stone finds herself without a potential way to return to Earth.
Along with her partner Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), she must make her way to the nearby International Space Station, hoping that a chance for a return trip would be possible.
As our two leads, Bullock and Clooney are both outstanding, giving strong and exceptionally well-composed performances. In their roles, each actor demonstrates their strengths, both representing a specific character structure and concept.
Stone is the realist, who is uncertain about their chances for escaping their predicament, while Kowalski sees their situation in a more laze-faire fashion.
Known by mainstream audiences for his role in directing 2004’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Cuaron creates a visual environment worthy of an Academy Award.
Utilizing both long takes, especially in the opening sequence, and a mix of first and third-person shots throughout, he demonstrates a keen insight behind the camera and delivers an excellent spectacle.
Similarly, the screenplay by Cuaron, and his brother Jonas, proves to be excellent. While the characters and plot are relatively straight-forward, the screenplay focuses entirely on the differing personalities of its leads.
In this case, Stone is a person trying to escape into her work from real-life, and Kowalski as a man who embraces life. Fault-wise, outside of a minimal plot, the only major complaint would be the slow pace on certain occasions within the narrative.
Overall “Gravity” is an excellent sci-fi film which demonstrates a modern director willing to take risks within a familiar genre, and will prove enjoyable to general audiences. For those seeking a suspenseful ride this month, this will be the best option.
Final Rating: 10/10.