This film had my interest from the first time I read about it and even more so, the first time I watched the trailer. I was sincerely afraid, over time, that the hype surrounding this movie would not payoff after my expectations were so incredibly high. My firm belief was that this would end up falling so far short of what I was hoping it would be that I think it brought my expectations to a more realistic level. Made me expect garbage. However, once this film started, it had me by the throat and wouldn't let go. I loved this film going experience.... from start to finish and it's been a while since a film caught a hold of me the way that 'Gravity' did. I was literally white knuckled for almost half of it and that's not easy with a jaded film goer like myself. Not too mention, that Sandra Bullock and George Clooney don't exactly seem like the obvious choice for this movie. It seems more like an indie movie with minimal effects and maximum script. Instead, thanks to the direction and weight of director Alfonso Curaon, you end up with a big budget film with an independent plot. I think that shocked a lot of people and also proved that you don't need a big budget blockbuster to put asses in seats and win awards.
Now.... I love films with people against overwhelming odds. That's why I'm such a huge zombie movie lover. I'm also a fan of disaster films and anything else that puts one person or a group against something so much greater than themselves. This film was exactly that on a different scale. It played up on an irrational fear of mine and a similar irrational fear of a lot of people. Running out of air, drowning, quicksand, etc. Actually, when I was growing up, I was intensely fascinated with being an astronaut and exploring outer space. I used to study the stars and constellations with great love and wonder. I dreamed of going out into space and exploring distant planets. I'd watch 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' and wonder what was out there beyond the stars. What I failed to think about back then and that was a solid reason not too want to go into outer space was everything that can go wrong and how completely how helpless you are. This film played up on those fears so effectively that it made me never regret my decision to keep my feet on the ground. I mean, just getting off the planet earth is dangerous enough, but once you're out there.... wow. It just gets even more insane. I think the opening bit about how "nothing can survive in space", drove that point home even harder and set you up for what was about to unfold. A story about survival in one of the most inhospitable places imaginable. It makes me feel breathless just thinking about it.
THE FOLLOWING PORTION OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS!
In case you aren't familiar with the plot line of the film, it's a pretty basic story. A group of astronauts are working outside the shuttle, when something goes horribly wrong. Everyone is killed except for astronauts Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski. Ryan is sent hurtling out into space and is nearly lost forever, when Matt eventually finds her and tethers himself to her. They go back to rescue the other crew members, only to find them dead. They then devise a plan to get to the space station and use that to get back to earth. The only problem is, there's basically a radio blackout, they're low on oxygen and fuel and one thing after the other keeps making it harder and harder to get home. Without giving too much else away, it almost becomes a comedy of errors and proves the point that whatever can go wrong.... will. That's all I'll give you, as I want the rest of it to hold the same impact it held for me.
One way or another, it's been a really long time since any film has made me want to run out and write a review. The only reason this has taken three days is due to illness. Otherwise, this would have gone up the same night I watched 'Gravity'. This movie put me right back into my childhood and poured gasoline on all of my fears and made them very, very real. I completely suspended all disbelief and was sucked 100% into the story line and the characters. I wanted them to succeed. I wanted them to not keep having bad things happen. I legitimately wanted them to all get home. It was like 'Open Water' in space, minus the sharks. It's the complete feeling of living a life that you no longer control. This is the film you should be watching in the dark, with nothing else going on and no one bothering you. You should be in the moment, so to speak. You should be giving 'Gravity' your undivided attention. Nothing less would be a cry in shame.
I give this a solid 4 out of 5 stars. The only reason I'm not giving it more, is I'm not sure of it's staying power. Will it hold my interest as much in a year, 2 years, 6 months? Only time will tell. In the meantime, this is a film that earned every accolade it received and is one that is NOT to be missed!