Gravity is a film about being suspended in space, but it’s more than that. It’s also more than a merely linear survival story, where a heroine faces troubles and conquers them, emerging victorious. The will to survive has been covered to death in many movies, but here the film’s script takes a more delicate yet meaningful approach to the mundane theme.
The two main roles are played by Sandra Bullock as Dr Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Astronaut Matt Kowalski. The way the film is made does not allow any dawdling and it quickly gets into the point. Stone and Kowalski find themselves suspended in space after debris from an exploded satellite separates them from their shuttle and kills a fellow space-walker. Don’t be mistaken; despite discussing many meaningful themes, the film is still quite a thriller, and you are kept on your toes the whole movie.
Similar to Castaway, the focus is on one main character – in this case, Sandra Bullock. Her acting was definitely superb, and if the Oscar buzz is true, it will be a deserving win. One-character movies can risk being boring if the actor is not engaging enough to bring the audience into the story. Bullock nails that challenge, and her journey throughout the film becomes the viewers’ journey.
The film focuses on the silence of life in outer space, but also the emergence of life from within the human soul. It also touches on the themes of spirituality and the need for human contact, but perhaps the most interesting is the symbolic storyline throughout the movie, which is so sublime it might be missed by the less than discerning viewer.
To film most of the scenes, Bullock endured being enclosed in a mechanical rig for up to 10 hours a day. This might have helped her portray the feeling of seclusion that was relayed very smoothly to the viewers. Clooney is his cheery and joking self during the film, but he manages to embody the role of the hopeful human very well, and his character is a crucial part of Bulllock’s character’s journey.
The script was written by father-son team Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron, and directed by the father, Alfonso. He had to wait for about five years to have the proper technology to make the movie and it was well worth the wait. The film managed to floor director James Cameron, who told Variety magazine: “What is interesting is the human dimension. Alfonso and Sandra working together to create an absolutely seamless portrayal of a woman fighting for her life in zero gravity.”
Director Alfonso Cuaron was able to combine technology with an amazing plot and great actors, and that is why this film is such a success. Through the meditation on the characters lives, the film engages viewers to reflect on themselves, a feeling that lingers on long after emerging from the darkness of the theater.