Discussion: Gravity – The Experience, or the Story? Or Both?


To get into a truly comprehensive and informative discussion about Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, it’s hard not to get involved in spoilery elements of the film. So for those who have yet to see it, here’s what I can tell you; Gravity is damn good. The fact that this sort of film on this scope even got made in this day and age is impressive, honestly. Sandra Bullock gives a truly outstanding performance, and the visuals onscreen are going to be talked about for years to come. It must be seen to be believed. See it.

Ok, that’s out of the way. If you haven’t seen the film yet, come back when you have.

Oh, you’re back! Yeah, I know, it’s only 90 minutes! Crazy, right?

Anyway. Gravity.

I saw Gravity with my brother, and as we left the cinema, we were discussing the merits of having the movie go with a more “artsy” ending in having Ryan (Sandra Bullock) trapped in space for all time, rather than the “Hollywood” ending where Ryan does indeed get her wits together and lands back on Earth alive. One can argue (and I am) that the difference between those two endings changes Gravity from being an experience, to being a story. However, Cuaron actually succeeds in combining the two.

The visual palette on display is nothing short of remarkable; epic uncut shots of astronauts working on satellites. Destruction and carnage in space completely devoid of sound. Visuals of the grand majesty of our own planet viewed from above. This is the world Cuaron gives us, and it’s extraordinary. It’s nothing you would ever see in a major Hollywood film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. But it’s here, right before our eyes (I didn’t even see it in IMAX or in 3D, and I was still genuinely amazed, so I can’t even imagine what it must be like on those screens). And the reason that it is here is BECAUSE of the story. If Ryan had suffered the same fate that Matt (Clooney) did, then I guarantee this would not have been made. Because while the remarkable visuals are all well and good, Cuaron, like most grand, epic filmmakers, is a storyteller, and he wanted to find a way to make a relatable, human story, while tackling themes and worlds of an epic scope.

So Gravity is exactly the film it’s trying to be, and those who think the ending is a “cop-out” are asking it to be a different film than it is, which is completely unfair if you ask me. If a film sets a goal for itself and completely achieves it, then it’s a success in my book.

What do you think, readers? Was Gravity a satisfying film for you? Was the dialogue too cheesy for your tastes? And did it finally make you like Sandra Bullock, like it did for me?

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