Gravity is a survival movie. What differentiates it from the crowd of other survival films, however, is that it is set in space. Ryan, a doctor who trained with NASA so as to personally assist with the attachment of a experiment she designed, becomes caught up in a debris wave; with her space shuttle destroyed and hopping from station to station as her only hope to return to earth before she either suffocates or starves, her struggle is an intense psychological story.
Oddly enough, or not oddly enough, the story is told with emotion; whether it is fear, anxiety, hope, or that edge of your seat anticipation which the advertisers are so keen on, the difficulties and phobia of being caught in the vacuum of space are depicted with both realism and skill; the writing and character building are top notch. Both Ryan, and her counterpart Matt, are realized protagonists each with their own set of traits and personalities which complement one another. Matt is the wisecracking veteran while Ryan the green-eyed newcomer. Neither are shallow and though at the end of the day not a great deal is spoken of the moving rationale behind their actions, what is told perfectly suits the director’s effort. Each line was written carefully to build upon the subtleties and overt concept; humor but not overly humorous to counteract the seriousness of the film, yet enough of a variety to shake up what is an all-around excellently made motion picture which might have been rather boring without interesting people to back it up.
This being said, the mise-en-scene is simple yet pierces the heart of the matter: each space station or shuttle has clues and signifiers as to the condition of the protagonists and the human condition at the time of the disaster. To this end the cinematography is top-notch and truly a treat if you have a high definition television. Space, earth, and the antagonist that is space garbage have never been more fully realized than in a claustrophobic, vomit inducing anxiety ride of wondering if you will be carried off into the deep recesses of space never to be heard from again.
I loved Gravity. Provided it is not likely a movie you will watch over and over again; experiencing the emotions once is really the height of the experience since it hinges so much on the terror of inexperience. Even so there is something to be said about artistic films and by the end of the film you will understand the weight of the title. Indeed, if you are driven to watch it more than once than it should be a film which allows you to glimpse a piece of a larger scene: that of living.