The set-up for Gravity is simple: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are two astronauts who are lost in space after an accident involving satellite debris and are struggling for survival. Essentially, it is a B-movie with a budget. Its story is thin and its characters are even thinner. The dialogue is frequently clunky, melodramatic and unbelievable. George Clooney plays a mixture of Buzz Lightyear and himself in the Nespresso ads.
Gravity works nonetheless is because it is aware of this and keeps things simple. It never tries to be anything more than spectacle, a quick, 90-minute thrill ride. It’s not about saving the world; it’s about surviving in the most hostile environment a human can find himself in. The reason a B-movie with a budget is one of the best films of the year is not a lack of good films, but the amazing things Alfonso Cuarón has achieved with this budget. The visual effects are of an unprecedented quality; even the 3D is great.
The film’s unbroken 13-minute opening shot is the single most spectacular action-scene of the year by some distance, and the action in general is simultaneously absolutely gorgeous as well as frightening and intense. While more of a ride, a spectacle than an actual film (some people have dismissed it as a mere technical exercise, which is very harsh in my opinion), Gravity is one of the most cinematic experiences of the year, demonstrating Alfonso Cuarón’s craftsmanship as a great director and should be seen by everyone, in 3D, on as big a screen as possible.