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If Sandra Bullock And Alfonso Cuaron Do Not Win Oscars For ‘Gravity,’ Blood Will Run In The Streets

I was really not planning on seeing “Gravity,” since I assumed that pretty much the whole story was in the trailer:

Bad things happen in space, Sandra Bullock is stranded and scared yet fierce yet mom-tough, blah blah blah.

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

First things first: Sandra Bullock is amazing, and I have no real love for Ms. Bullock. Except Demolition Man, because there is not one iota wrong with that movie.

Sandra Bullock is not wacky in this movie. Sandra Bullock is not spunky in this movie. Sandra Bullock is beautiful and strong and achingly human. Now, don’t get me wrong, Clooney is great, but basically just because he shows up and is all “Ocean’s 11” in space. He’s charming, rogueish, self-effacing. He’s George Clooney, and he’s exactly what you need him to be, but Bullock steals the show. In part, this is because director Alfonso Cuaron shot the movie with a claustrophobic-inducing closeness and then added a tension-racheting soundtrack. I’ve never felt so immersed or invested in a character’s survival in any film I’ve ever seen.

And speaking of Cuaron…thank God he, and not some other director with a clumsier touch, directed this. He’s just so deft. Though the movie is utterly overwhelming – big sound, vastness of space, edge of your seat with worry – it doesn’t turn into a space opera, and the technology, marvelous as it is, never overwhelms Bullock.

If you’ve seen the trailer (just go watch it right now! It’s linked right up at the top, for crying out loud!) then you do actually know the story. Bullock plays a rookie spaceperson out on a spacewalk with cocky super-experienced spaceperson Clooney. Disaster hits, the shuttle is destroyed, and the two of them are left alone in the vastness of space. In what is probably the most maddening review ever, I will not tell you any more than that, because nothing about this film should be spoiled for you. I will tell you that it is 90 minutes of sheer beauty, technologically, and only gets more interesting once you read about how Cuaron shot all the weightless scenes. And yes, yes, I know that Neal deGrasse Tyson has pointed out a myriad of scientific errors in the film, and I do not care, and you will not care when you see it. Unless you’re a physicist or an astronaut or both, in which case you probably have real-world experience that kicks my movie-going ass and you aren’t planning on seeing the film. I will also tell you that it is 90 minutes of sheer beauty, emotionally, and you’ll feel torn apart and put back together again.

I feel positively evangelical about this film. Everybody should see it and, if possible, everybody should see it in 3-D with the fancy new ATMOS sound thing that Dolby has introduced. You end up being utterly swallowed by the film. When I left, I felt physically exhausted and emotionally worn out. That sounds terrible, I know! But I mean it as a selling point. Your mind and your body are that committed to the movie, and the 90 minutes pass like seconds and like days at the same time. By far and away the best film I’ve seen this year, and I don’t expect to see another one as good.

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  • strega2012

    I feel terrible for not thinking it was all that great. (lots of panting and flailing) Effects are gorgeous and yes, MUST be seen in 3D. But…I was way more emotionally involved in Ron Howard’s “Rush,” and I don’t give a crap about F-1 racing.

  • frepster

    Did we see the same vapid, poorly scripted movie with two caricatures of one dimensional human beings? Yeah, suspense. Yeah, space, but…Bullock’s character was sort of an emotionally retarded flatbed of a human being and Clooney was Buzz Lightyear, and everything that came out of their mouths was banal and boring if not outright trite.

    • I’ll grant you 1000 times that Clooney looked like Buzz Lightyear, and I had to keep shoving it out of my head.

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  • austinburns

    I agree with all of it! I even saw it in giant IMAXy goodness. When it was over I was lightheaded, short of breath, and my hands were tingling. The story almost didn’t matter because the whole point of the thing was for you to EXPERIENCE SPACE, in all its wonder and terror.I’m sure it will be terrible when watched at home or (god forbid) on an iphone.