Saturday, 8 February 2014

Gravity

     I love fantasy fiction; the more fantastical the story line, the better. But when it comes to movies I seek verisimilitude. I know that all movies call for varying degrees of suspension of disbelief; my threshold for that, however, is very low. As a result I find myself frequently bemoaning the fact that fewer movies today are grounded in reality. I am bothered by logical inconsistencies, scientific inaccuracies and anachronisms. I find myself obsessing over trivialities and fail to truly enjoy a movie. So, when a movie stays with me for days after watching it, it is one to be treasured.


     Watching Gravity in imax 3D was an experience, the likes of which I haven t had in my life. The visuals are breathtakingly spectacular. Awe inspiring vistas, the beauty of which cannot be described by mere words form the backdrop. Yet they do not distract from the story line, in fact they are integral to it. The vastness of Space feels paradoxically confining, stifling. The soundtrack is effectively used; the crescendos adding to the urgency, the silences terrifying, chilling, sinister even.

    George Clooney as Lieutenant Matt Kowalski is engaging and effective. His easy manner and joie de vivre are all the more impressive as they stay in place even in the face of imminent and unavoidable death. But the true star of this movie is Sandra Bullock. Her Ryan Stone is her career best performance ( Yes! better than her Oscar winning role in The Blind Side ). I know the odds on favourite for the best actress Oscar is Cate Blanchett. Her work in Blue Jasmine is being lauded and rightly so. But I believe that Sandra Bullock deserves the Oscar. In the space of ninety minutes, she goes through the whole gamut of human emotion - fear, sadness, resignation, determination, joy, anger and victorious exultation in the end. She holds this movie together.

     The director's vision must be commended. This is the best use of 3D since Avatar; I contend that this is better than Avatar. There are many themes I could identify in this story. First and foremost, this is a thriller with many of the elements of a shipwreck story. The Space setting underscores both the urgency and the improbability of a rescue. This movie also very subtly, almost subliminally suggests the need for moving past tragedy. The visual of Sandra Bullock floating in the ISS is very reminiscent of a foetus in utero. The final sequence in the film is one that reminds me of birth and evolution.

   The four elements Air, Fire, Water and Earth feature prominently in this movie. Religious motifs are presented ever so deftly. The movie also raises the question of divine inspiration very tactfully. That the many themes are neither glaringly obvious and gratuitous nor too subtle to discern is a testament to the skill of the director. There are probably many scientific inaccuracies in this movie. For once, I don't care.


    I love this movie because it celebrates the very best of human nature - the will to survive, the resolve to overcome adversity, selflessness, ingenuity and creativity of the human mind.

    This was the movie I was waiting to see for a very long time. I just didn't know it.