Gravity’s Few Faults Easy to Overcome

George Kent, Staff Writer

Gravity creates space terror Photo: Courtesy Warner Brothers
Gravity creates space terror
Photo: Courtesy Warner Brothers


Gravity is a tense drama film about two astronauts that are stranded in space after their spaceship is destroyed.  It’s directed by Alfonso Cuarón and stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Matt Kowalsky.

The two astronauts are on a routine repair mission for the Hubble Space Telescope when their craft is hit by a fast moving debris storm, sending them flying off into space with only a half-drained jetpack for propulsion and a depleting oxygen supply.

The movie consists mostly of long stretches of silence as the two astronauts float along across long expanses of space, but also provides a number of intense action scenes which are very well done.  The floating scenes do a lot to add to the tense, silent atmosphere the movie creates, reinforcing that Stone and Kowalsky really are the only ones out there.  These scenes are shot with images of the faraway earth looming in the background which are visually amazing.  The action scenes are very well done as well, and audience members will frequently find themselves on the edges of their seats as the two actors smash wildly into spaceships, trying to grab hold, debris flies by at terrifying speeds, and the oxygen supply sinks.

The two leads perform excellently, and are quite believable in their roles.  Bullock plays a nervous rookie astronaut, brought on the mission to install a new imaging device into the Hubble telescope.  She is uncomfortable with being in space, and she shows it, many of her lines consisting of hurried panting and “ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod”.  This is well done, but often overdone, and it feels like many of Bullock’s solo scenes could be cut short without much effect on the movie.

Clooney, in contrast, is a confident, experienced astronaut with a dry sense of humor.  He is a very likeable character in every way, and is constantly recounting stories about his life to anyone who will listen in a relaxed, light tone that really makes a viewer want to hear what he has to say.  The back and forth between the two as they float across long expanses of empty space is quite fun to listen to, and keeps the audience entertained, while still making the passing of long expanses of time believable.  As the movie goes on, however, the dialogue begins to disintegrate as it focuses more and more on Bullock alone, whose panicky, unsure, character becomes annoying.

For a movie set entirely in zero gravity visual effects are very important, and Gravity does not disappoint.  As props and characters float around the screen weightlessly, the thought of: “it’s just special effects,” is usually far from the viewer’s mind.  Throughout the course of the movie, everything from huge jagged shards of metal to a ballpoint pen to a mini Buddha statue is seen floating about, all very believably, and the movie even provides very impressive zero-gravity fire scene (followed by a Wall-E-referencing extinguisher scene).  The movie’s many collisions, as clouds of debris smash into the spaceships and machinery, are also very realistic and believable, and are made even more impressive when the huge collision make no sound as sound can’t travel in the void of space.  This effect is as impressive as the huge smashes in many other action movies, and often more terrifying.

Performing fantastically in story, visuals, acting, and more, Gravity is an excellent movie whose few faults are easy to overlook.  It is a perfect way to get some quality entertainment this fall.

Gravity – (4½ out of 5 stars)