Bullock and Clooney: THE double-act for awards season with Gravity

GRAVITY“And The Oscar for Best Film goes to…..”

THIS IS the best film I’ve seen in the cinema for a long while. On Friday I went to see it with my Theoretical Physicist friend, and scientifically it has so many holes in it it might as well be a sieve, but it is superb.

It asks you so many questions about your humanity. It has an overriding taste of existentialism and makes the human race seem inconsequential without making the audience feel suicidal. Alfonso Cuaron worked with his team for more than four-and-a-half years on this film, and in 91 minutes it doesn’t beat around the bush, it is not convoluted or contrived and, even though it could have been longer, he realised that if it had been longer than two hours it would have lost its shock value.

I don’t know whether this goes against the trend or not but I feel that soundtracks to films play as important a role as the script, and in post-production it is the cherry on the top of the cake. Stephen Price’s soundtrack (which is incidentally released tomorrow) is perfect. If anybody has ever listened to An Ending (Ascent) by Brian Eno will get the drift. I adored it and as a proud male I have no qualms for admitting that I had a tear running down my face at a certain point, which I will not disclose at risk of ruining it for those of you who are yet to see it.

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone, a scientist on a space shuttle mission headed by astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), a talkative, charismatic leader full of colourful stories that he shares with his crewmates as well as mission control. As the two are on a space walk, debris hits the area where they are working, and soon the pair finds themselves detached from their ship and stranded in space. While figuring out what steps they can take to save themselves, Stone grapples with a painful past that makes her consider giving up altogether. That is as far as I’ll go into it. Review Etiquette should dictate that the writer should not expose too much, always leave the readership wanting more.

What will stay with you is the silence of space. There are vast periods of no dialogue whatsoever, which makes you feel part of the outer world. Cinema does not have to be full of witty scripts. It’s the pure serenity of space that gets you. Cinema should always be striving to challenge convention. This film ensures you are leaving the cinema asking more questions than you had when you walked in. It is esoteric, it is beautiful in its simplicity and the leading pair work in tandem to provide a cinematic space odyssey that I enjoyed so richly that I will be seeing it again, and it is rare that I say that.

I’m going to spare The Courier’s readership the obvious pun about this film being out of this world (okay, I lied). For all the talk from Film Critics that Cate Blanchett and Dame Judie Dench are the only two leading ladies vying for the Academy Award for Best Actress in February for their roles in Blue Jasmine and Philomena respectively, this review is to give notice that Sandra Bullock and George Clooney will be nominated and there will be millions of movie-goers who believe they both deserve to add to their Oscar collection.

The closest the vast majority of us will get to outer space is sucking on a Flying Saucer. If you want to gain an insight into what it feels like to be so close to death that the soul is literally being sucked out of you as you float endlessly through the darkness of the solar system, this is the film for you.

Trailers for modern films make the story obvious to ensure that the target audience are exactly that, the target for cinematic profit as cash registers in cinemas all over the world are in harmony doing one thing: making money. In America Clooney and Bullock have been cast to do what is known as “opening a movie”. This entails that in the United States the largest percentile of profit and loss is accrued in the first week, two weeks at a push. On our own shores Gravity has made £6.2 million an an astronomic (pardon the pun) 89% of the audience have seen it in three dimensions. It has already made $200m at the box office across the pond.

Hollywood has a patchy record to say the least when the topic of conversation is cinema in 3D. Clash of the Titans bombed, and Life of Pi  was apparently one of the worst book to film adaptations in recent memory. Gravity  magnificently bucks the trend as a groundbreaker. Now the ground is broken, here’s hoping that producers and cinematographers do not fall into the abyss that lurks between masterpiece and box-office flop. You have to see this in 3D and is the modern cousin of Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey. You owe it to yourself to take a night off from studying to see this. It will blow your mind.

The discussion for Best Film is over.