The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

46° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Gravity visually stuns and takes your breath away

George Clooney as Matt Kowalski in Hollywood’s new hit “Gravity.” (PHOTO CREDIT : MCT CAMPUS)

We do not put much conscious thought into our everyday survival. We breathe, eat and move without really thinking of these actions, but how would we react if every action we took was purely on our survival? This is the concept that director Alfonso Cuarón explores in “Gravity,” a movie that is equally terrifying and breathtaking, making one of the best film experiences of the year.

The basic premise of the film is that Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her first space mission, and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), are left drifting in space after loose debris destroys the satellite and shuttle at which they were stationed. These events leave both astronauts bouncing around Earth looking for a way to return to the planet’s surface, while having to manage their dwindling air supply.

While the plot is fairly basic, the film uses the space setting to bring out the darkest corners of the characters. Kowalski and Stone are vastly divergent characters that play off each other beautifully. Stone is a mourning mother that hides herself in her work to mask her pain, while Kowalski is the veteran astronaut who is too busy enjoying life. This is a role that Clooney has played multiple times in his career, so naturally he fits right in, though Bullock is a different story.

Sandra Bullock has always been a hit-or-miss actress. Her comedic efforts, such as this year’s “The Heat,” show she has great timing, but her dramatic roles never seem to click. That all changes with “Gravity.” Bullock gives the best performance of her career, bringing pure terror to certain scenes simply through the act of breathing. Cuarón starts the film by creating a beautiful, calm environment that allows us to see Bullock in her normal state, then quickly destroys everything, allowing us to watch Bullock break down realistically.

Visually, “Gravity” is a cinematic triumph. It is the most effective and purposeful use of CGI and 3D technology in the past few years. The film creates a sense of realism, allowing us to peer into what it would be like in space. While the visuals can carry the film on its own, Cuarón’s camera work really brings out the beauty of the film. Long establishing shots highlight the depth of space, which any other film would have cut, but “Gravity” keeps it for the sake of atmosphere.

All of this exists to help the audience connect better with Stone, whose character arc is the crux of the film. Her fight for every single breath, let alone her battle to get home, grips us and does not let us go until the credits roll. There are a lot of visual metaphors in the film regarding the idea of rebirth, and sometimes they are a bit cheesy, but they work in the context of Stone’s progression.

There are a few scenes that awkwardly break up the pace of the film. One scene simply seems to exist solely to get things moving again, but for a film that is constantly tense the quiet moments really help. The second scene is a scene that has no purpose being in this movie, with it adding nothing to most of the characters and actually hurting one of them. Some moments might also be a bit too much visually, as they are very claustrophobic and almost unsettling to watch.

“Gravity” is a fantastic film that marks new technological advances in film while giving a simple, yet compelling narrative surrounding two strong characters. It is entertainment at its finest, and a film that deserves to be seen in IMAX 3D, as it was intended. “Gravity” will scare some and amaze others. It left me counting every breath once I left the theater.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Statesman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Statesman

Comments (0)

All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *