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GRAVITY — Everything You Hear is TRUE

GRAVITY approaches Art.

GRAVITY Review : The Voice In Isolation

If, this time last year, anyone had asked what the Academy Award frontrunners for Best Picture would be, the smart money consensus would have opined that the then-unseen LES MISERABLES and THE HOBBIT were clear favorites and easy bets to win. In reality, the sleeper hits ZERO DARK THIRTY and LIFE OF PI were the outstanding motion pictures of 2012.

This year, three standouts have already emerged. GRAVITY is one of them.

GRAVITY exceeds the innovations in cinematography of CHILDREN OF MEN in Cuaron’s career and equals LIFE OF PI in its seamless use of CGI in the 3D format. The introductions of swimming in space, floating in air and fire are majestic. See this film in the biggest IMAX screen you can, in DOLBY ATMOS, if possible. The first 17- 20 minutes is one unbroken CGI shot that frames the story.

The initial momentum of the film’s US $55.6 Million opening weekend has elicited a backlash about factual representations of science and space as depicted in the film, of plausibility of the physics of events. Ignore this negative campaign completely. It is nonsense, fueled by bad intentions and ill spirits.

all is lost nebraska 12 years a slave 390

Co-screenwriter Jonas Cuaron @New York Film Festival LIVE 10/8/13

This is not a story about space. This is a story of adversity and the overcoming of it, of the voice in isolation and the Leap into the void.

Sandra Bullock’s character RYAN tells George Clooney’s astronaut KOWALSKI that she could get used to the silence. But he keeps talking throughout. The voice of RIGHT STUFF astronaut Ed Harris serves as Mission Control in Houston in constant voiceover. Kowalski constantly reminds Ryan to keep talking even if she thinks Mission Control can’t hear.

The silence of space will doom you.

The sound design is impeccable. The filmmakers have created a beautiful soundfloor with discreet  off-center touches and sounds, with a beautiful sensibility of air and voice mingling with air.

The voice that calms you down is often your own. The film affirms the need of calm in life-threatening and near-impossible situations. Not the voice of the obscure, but the voice of the normal everyday that, when isolated in space, is resonant and redolent of home.

If the dialog seems matter of fact, it is seductive and you will realize the reason for it by the end of the film. The voice in your head will keep you grounded. The voice in your head will pull you back to earth when you are lost in space. The voice in your head will keep you alive.

There remains another voice which restores her hope although it is meaningless – it is not Mission Control or another astronaut – through which she is reminded of the sounds of earth almost as in song. It counterpoints her statements early in the film where she tells Kowalski she listens to anything as long as there is no talking. Her voice in the film is the voice of prayer.

It is significant that the astronaut is a woman  —  Not only because Sandra Bullock nails the performance, but also because her reactions are so subtle. Divorced from life and isolated, she is jerked back to life by the nagging responsibility to live through this, to become aware, to use her senses, to constantly leap from one crisis to another, to react though she has willed herself to be numb. The accidents of life have left her unmoored. Now the reality of being stranded forces her to remember her life, to remember her training, to come back from the brink and constantly try.

To survive, to live your life, you must leap  into the void and believe in yourself.

This is a film about restoring your faith.

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October 16, 2013 - Posted by | CULTURE, FILM, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Beautiful review for a beautiful film.

    Comment by Spencer Hensel | October 17, 2013 | Reply

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