Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Movie Update: Gravity

Well well I'm back once again with apologies and excuses to spare. No matter, the point is I'm here and I'm so excited to talk about my adventures at the cinema this week. Summer is fading fast and with it blockbusters and superheroes are hibernating for the time being. And while I have no problem devouring the recent trend of costumed heroes and cumberbatch, I enjoy a refreshing glass of class and prestige as much as the next guy. So as a our legends sneak away in the night, the celluloid gods begin to bless us with hope as cinematic brilliance dances across our multiplexes. What has excited me so much about diving back into the deep end and exploring all cinema has to offer well, nothing less than Cuaron's long in the making Gravity.

Cuaron doesn't care about act structure or complex plot mechanics, and in doing so he offers a seemingly simple story. Sandra Bullock is a new astronaut, debris comes and causes havoc, she loses her partner and she floats around trying to survive. That's it. It's a great deception, because once you start looking back at the film you start to see all the layers all the meaning and all the beauty of what he's showing you.

Let's get some simple stuff out of the way. As a straight forward movie, Bullock holds your attention the entire time. She is a broken soul and you feel every emotion with her as hope quickly faded away.For the whole time you are glued to the screen trying to figure out just how you escape an impossible situation. Clooney is fine, doing Clooney if he was an astronaut. And for me that's all I need. But this is Cuaron, the guys has things to say, about cinema and about life.

I could talk about this film for hours, but I'll spare you the dribble. So I'll just say that for me this film boiled down to "how do we live" and "why do we live." The films starts with title cards explains how life is impossible in space. Once the shit hits the fan, the whole movie becomes an exercise in survival against impossible odds. There are constant shots of Bullock silhouetted against space. They're gorgeous shots that show humanity flailing against the vastness that is space. And while most could read that these are showing just how small we are in this infinity that is the universe. I saw it much more as a representation of our struggle to belong. We see Bullock floating through space struggling to find something to hold on to and there are times where she almost disappears into space. And when clooney disappears we see, we are part of this huge universe. We are a piece of this enormous puzzle and while we are microscopic in scale, we are no less important. Because this universe is a collection of everything. It's scope and existence is nothing without all that constructs it. Even though it is "impossible" to live in space, humanity can push through and overcome these obstacles. We are a piece of the puzzle and with perseverance and motivation humanity is just as necessary as anything else in the cosmos.

The hard comes with why? Here Cuaron wears the theme a bit more on his sleeve. Bullock talks about what she's lost, and we see her struggle with being able to push on. But ultimately we see that life and existence is the most beautiful awe inspiring thing in the world. Earth is constantly peaking at us from the edge of the screen. And everything we see it we are looking at our world from a whole new perspective. It is some of the most amazing images of the earth and Clooney captures it best with a simple line about the Ganges. Looking at the earth from this perspective and you see just how amazing and beautiful existence is. Another standout scene is when Cuaron shows us a sunrise. We've all seen sunrises a million times on film, but Cuaron is showing us a sunrise in a way we've never seen before. In the middle of this horrible catastrophe we see the brilliance of a star passing by a planet and this act that we all have experienced over and over is shown to us once more like a new event worthy of pause.

I could just keep going and going, I haven't even begun to talk about the craft of the film. Let me just leave with this. Lubezki deserves the Oscar, if only for the second big set piece with a space station, his work is seamless and gorgeous and like the film shows us cinema in a new light. This is a movie that deserves multiple viewings on the largest screen you can find. This is a movie to share with loved ones and to discuss about for hours after. Cuaron has crafted a masterpiece and I couldn't be more excited. He is pushing the capabilities of cinema forward and doing a frakking amazing job. Go see this movie.Now.


One last thought - explosions without sound might be the coolest thing to experience
all year, that and space tears.

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