Out of This World
Starring Sandra Bullock & George Clooney
Directed by Alfonso Cuaròn
PG-13, 90 min.
Released Oct. 4, 2013
Wow---that’s the single best word I can think of to describe this truly awesome piece of moviemaking, which has instantly vaulted to the top of my list of the year’s best films.
Marooned in space after the destruction of their craft, two American astronauts suddenly find themselves on a new mission of survival.
That’s a simple enough premise, but “Gravity” turns its into something at once monumental and sublime, slicing to the core of our basic fears and primal issues about death and dying, isolation, abandonment and spiritual longing, and the general cosmic inhospitality and indifference that greets humans whenever we venture outside the comfort zone of the earthly place we call home.
It’s also one of the most technically dazzling spectacles to ever grace the screen, an eye-popping, digital/live-action marvel that makes the senses reel with new levels of sophistication in its groundbreaking special effects that leaves most other films look like they’re lagging light years behind.
As it begins, we meet veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and his space shuttle’s medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a newcomer on her first mission. In a breathtaking, 15-minute sequence during which the camera never breaks away, we see Dr. Stone working outside the docked shuttle on the Hubble telescope, and Kowalski whisking around leisurely with his jetpack, cracking jokes with Mission Control (voiced by Ed Harris, a nice nod to another astronaut flick, “The Right Stuff”), when they receive some alarming news: A shower of shrapnel from a detonated Soviet satellite is speeding directly at them, at 25,000 miles per hour.
But the warning comes too late: The cloud of space junk, catapulted by centrifugal force as it orbits the Earth, plows into the shuttle, rendering it useless---and sending Dr. Stone flying out into the inky, star-flecked blackness, adrift, detached and alone.
And that’s just the beginning!
Other things happen---a lot of things. But revealing more would rob you of the many edge-of-your-seat surprises “Gravity” has in store, both visually and thematically, in the gripping story written by director Alfonso Cuaròn and his son, Jonás. Suffice it to say, as Bullock’s character does at one point, it’s “one hell of a ride.”
Back in 2006, Cuaròn made critics giddy with the tracking shots he used in “Children of Men,” a grungy futuristic fable that became known for a couple of lengthy, carefully executed segments in which the camera stayed with the action and characters, without cutting away, for several long, protracted moments. Those shots were über-cool, but they’re nothing compared with what the director pulls off here, in which his camera goes places, and does things, that are nothing short of jaw-dropping.
You’ll not only feel like you’re floating in space, you’ll feel like you’re inside Sandra Bullock’s space helmet. (In one amazing slow zoom, the camera “takes you along” as it seems to magically penetrate the glass of her visor from the outside, turn around, and begin looking out---all as she’s turning head over heels, weightless.)
This is one of Bullock’s best performances, without a doubt; reserve her a seat down front now at this year’s Oscars. It’s one of the most dazzling-looking films you’ll ever have the opportunity to see, especially if you see it in 3-D, or better yet, in 3-D and IMAX---believe every bit of the hype. It’s a masterful achievement of technique and craftsmanship, creating what has to be the most realistic “in space” experience ever for any motion picture.
And its final scene is a brilliant cinematic brushstroke of pure movie poetry that blends heaven and Earth, rebirth and renewal, past, present and future, and a poignant reminder of the Newtonian universal constant from which the film takes its title.
In almost every way, “Gravity” is out of this world.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Atascosa County Craft Show is Nov. 12 (October 26, 2016)
Baptist church to offer holiday decorating ideas (October 26, 2016)
Boldtville church plans fair, barbecue (October 26, 2016)
Dobie Dichos kicks off Storyfest (October 26, 2016)
Don’t miss tricks or treats at ‘The Dark Side of F Street’ (October 26, 2016)
DRT plans 125th anniversary celebration (October 26, 2016)
Egg cups (October 26, 2016)
Enjoy Hallelujah Night in Kenedy (October 26, 2016)
Enjoy spooky fun at Haunted Harvest Fest (October 26, 2016)
Enjoy ‘unusual’ Halloween Concert in Boerne (October 26, 2016)
Floresville Opry gets set for monthly schedule (October 26, 2016)
How much does a funeral cost? (October 26, 2016)
Kicaster Cemetery fund-raiser is Oct. 29 (October 26, 2016)
Labatt Club enjoys salad demo at October meeting (October 26, 2016)
Letters from Wilson County, Part I (October 26, 2016)
LV Band Boosters Pancake Breakfast (October 26, 2016)
New book celebrates Spurs Nation (October 26, 2016)
Plan for St. Mark Fall Festival (October 26, 2016)
See ‘A Brush With Color’ (October 26, 2016)
Show Barn Country Dance (October 26, 2016)
Three Oaks Senior Dinner is Nov. 2 (October 26, 2016)
Tips to get your teen to eat more fruits and vegetables (October 26, 2016)
Turkey Dinner Nov. 6 at St. Jerome (October 26, 2016)
Ways to support the bereaved at holiday time (October 26, 2016)
What every Spurs fan should know (October 26, 2016)
Zumba for a cause Oct. 29 (October 26, 2016)
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)