Gravity” and Sandra Bullock Captivating Despite the 3D.



Grav­i­ty arrives trail­ing truck­loads of hype and weighed down by a cacoph­o­nous word of mouth. But for once, it delivers.

Nom­i­nal­ly set in space and in some not too dis­tant future, like so many sci­ence film films, and not just Star Wars, it’s real­ly just a west­ern dressed up with fan­cy futur­is­tic toys.

San­dra Bul­lock is the lone­some hero pit­ted against the forces of evil, with the effort­less­ly charm­ing George Clooney as her side­kick. Clooney man­ages to be charm­ing even when he’s doing and say­ing things that, irri­tat­ing­ly,  have been designed and fab­ri­cat­ed to charm,  and still pull it off.

Alfonso Cuaron directs Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Alfon­so Cuaron directs San­dra Bul­lock and George Clooney.

But it’s Bullock’s film. Only instead of hav­ing to square up to an even mean­er bad guy than the one she’s just dis­posed of, she’s faced with a set of insur­mount­able tech­no­log­i­cal obsta­cles, each one even more hope­less than the one before.

Inevitably, there are exis­ten­tial mus­ings about life and love and the mean­ing of it all.  And yes, as some crit­ics have point­ed out, for some­one who’s sup­posed to have tak­en on the job because of her love of silence, she does an awful lot of talk­ing to her­self. And sure, Clooney is lit­tle more than a pas­tiche of any num­ber of iden­tik­it side­kicks from those 70s B west­erns or 80s cop films.

But their per­for­mances man­age to tran­scend all of that. Cou­pled with the fact that Alfon­so Cuarón, the film’s direc­tor, has man­aged to use all the time, effort and imag­i­na­tion invest­ed in the tech­nol­o­gy in the ser­vice of the story.

So there are times when you man­age to for­get that every­thing you are watch­ing has been hap­pen­ing in what appears to be zero grav­i­ty. When sud­den­ly, and mov­ing­ly, you’re remind­ed again of the alien back­ground against which all this is tak­ing place.

Cuarón shot to fame with Y Tu Mama Tam­bi­en in 2001, before get­ting invei­gled into direct­ing one of the Har­ry Pot­ter films. He’s spent the last sev­en years mak­ing Grav­i­ty, get­ting its tech­nol­o­gy right, but he and his son who wrote the script with him, nev­er lost sight of the story.

Not a pro­found film. But then nor does it try to be. Just an old fash­ioned, seat of your pants, thrill of a ride that’ll keep you root­ing for the good guy and pray­ing she pulls through, in a bril­liant­ly told and per­formed sto­ry that you com­plete­ly believe in. Despite the fact that they end­ed up shoot­ing it in 3D.

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity".

San­dra Bul­lock in “Grav­i­ty”.

And yes, here we are again. It’s Life Of Pi all over again – reviewed ear­li­er here.

3D was a gim­mick in the 50s, a gim­mick in the 70s and it’s a gim­mick again now. Grav­i­ty is a mar­vel to look at and lis­ten to, but because of the seam­less merg­ing of dig­i­tal effects and phys­i­cal act­ing. And the mag­nif­i­cent use of sound and music. It has noth­ing to do with the fact that it was need­less­ly shot in 3D. Go and see it in 2D. Either way, see it.

Here’s Gravity’s trailer.

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