film review – Gravity

There’s definitely something to admire about Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity: its visuals are absolutely gorgeous and the effects work is incredible. But, looking past that very shiny surface, the movie really doesn’t deliver on much else: the characters are flat and the plot is just a string of obstacles Sandra Bullock’s dr. Ryan Stone has to overcome to survive.

That Gravity is set in space, a space which is constructed with absolute care and craftsmanship, doesn’t change the fact that the film is utterly repetitive and becomes an absolute bore after its first 25 minutes. While Bullock and George Clooney do their best with the two underwritten parts, it’s not enough to make you care about these astronauts. So when everything goes to hell and the two are desperately trying to stay alive and not drift too far away from earth, it doesn’t really make for an affecting experience. Gravity‘s concerned with its visual effects, not with its characters.

Steven Price’s original score tries to inject some emotion into the proceedings, but it’s too on the nose for it to be effective. It does work some of the time, but more in the sense that the visuals and music create something beautiful that works fine enough on its own, but doesn’t add anything to the overall experience. The succesful moments are far too isolated for that. Unlike Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, a rich story which was elevated by John Murphy’s moving score, nothing quite comes together and you’re left with a beautiful but hollow picture.

Gravity‘s an aesthetically pleasing drag. It tries very hard to immerse you with the visuals, but forgets to add some heart. It’s baffling it’s nominated for an Best Picture Academy Award: it has no lasting value whatsoever, just some special effects wizardry. 4/10

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